JEDDAH: Iranian prosecutors are to put 1,000 people on trial this week for taking part in mass street protests that have rocked the Tehran regime for nearly two months.
The trials will take place in public in a Revolutionary Court, a spokesman for Tehran’s chief justice said on Monday. Protesters would be accused of “acts of sabotage, including assaulting or killing security guards, and setting fire to public property,” and some will face the death penalty, the spokesman said.
The protests are among the boldest challenges to Iran’s clerical regime since the revolution in 1979. Demonstrators took to the streets nationwide after the Sept. 16 death in morality police custody of Mahsa Amin, 22, a Kurdish woman detained for wearing her hijab in an “insufficiently modest” manner.
There have been demonstrations in more than 200 cities by Iranians from all walks of life, with students and women playing a prominent role, burning headscarves.
Regime security forces have launched a brutal crackdown on protesters, and the Iranian political dissident group MEK estimates that more than 450 people have been killed and at least 25,000 arrested.
Right groups in Tehran said on Monday that “show trials” had already begun. In a video posted on social media, the mother of protester Mohammad Ghobadlou, 22, said her son had been sentenced to death at a court hearing two days ago.
“My son is ill, the court didn’t even allow his lawyer to enter the courtroom. They interrogated him without an attorney present and in the very first session sentenced him to death, and wanting to execute him ASAP,” she said.
Analysts said it was now clear that the regime viewed the protests as a serious threat. “People are more determined to challenge the regime compared with the past,” said Saeid Golkar of the University of Tennessee. “Unfortunately, history has shown us they are willing to use any level of violence to stay in power.”
Meir Javedanfar of Reichman University in Israel said: “Despite early predictions by some regime officials, these protests are not dying down.”
Amid widespread global condemnation of the regime repression of the protests, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday the EU was considering further sanctions.
“We condemn the excessive violence of the security forces and stand by the people in Iran,” Scholz said.