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Mahsa Amini’s Uncle Sentenced To Five Years In Jail Over Iran Protests, Rights Groups Say

The uncle of Mahsa Amini, the young Iranian-Kurdish woman whose death in custody sparked months of protests, has been sentenced to more than five years in jail for his criticism of the government in 2022, rights groups have said.

Safa Aeli, 30, was sentenced to five years and four months in prison by the revolutionary court in the family’s home town of Saqez in north-western Iran, the Norway-based Hengaw group and US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) said.

In addition, he was punished with sanctions including a highly unusual demand to produce a written document outlining the biography of a member of the security forces killed in the protests and then submit his “own personal interpretation” of the finished document to the judicial authorities, Hengaw said.

He was then ordered to post a voice message about the work on his social media accounts and otherwise banned from expressing any views about the protests.

Mahsa Amini, 22, died in hospital in September 2022 after being arrested for allegedly flouting the strict dress rules for women in the Islamic republic. Amini’s family and activists say she was killed by a blow to the head while in custody, a claim denied by Iranian officials.

Quoting family lawyer Saleh Nikbakht, HRANA said that part of Aeli’s sentence was suspended and Aeli would have to serve three years and six months in prison.

The charges against him include taking part in protests that violated internal security, dissemination of anti-government propaganda, and insulting supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Aeli was released on bail a month after his arrest in September 2023, shortly before the one-year anniversary of the death of his niece.

The protests after Amini’s death shook Iran’s Islamic authorities but have now subsided in the face of a crackdown in which rights groups said hundreds were killed and the UN tallied thousands arrested.

Nine men have been executed in cases related to the protests, according to rights groups.

Iranian authorities say dozens of security personnel were also killed in what they describe as “riots” incited by foreign governments and hostile media.

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