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Iranian activists sentenced to further imprisonment for tweeting about protests

IRANIAN university student, movement leader and long-time political prisoner Bahareh Hedayat was sentenced to a further four years and eight months in prison on Sunday for tweeting about anti-government protests. 

The well-known campaigner for human and democratic rights has already spent most of the past decade in prison for her activism.

In February, Ms Hedayat was arrested during a crackdown on anti-government protesters following demonstrations over November’s three-fold increase in petrol prices and the shooting-down of a Ukrainian passenger plane in January, which killed 176 people, mostly Iranians.

She tweeted news of the protests, which was used against her as evidence, as was her presence at a protest outside Amirkabir University in Tehran.

Ms Hedayat has also been sentenced to a two-year blanket ban on membership of any social or political organisation.

In the past six months, Iran’s revolutionary courts have sentenced 20 people who participated in the peaceful protests. None of those responsible for downing the plane have been named or placed on trial. 

Jamshid Ahmadi, assistant general secretary of the Iranian people’s solidarity organisation Codir, called for the quashing of all charges against Ms Hedayat and for her immediate release.  

He said: “In one court appearance during her incarceration [in 2010], reacting to her refusal to repent and denounce her views, the judge threatened to ‘keep her in prison until her hair is the colour of her teeth’.”

Codir warned that the harsh measures announced by Iran’s judiciary against the opposition in recent weeks are the regime’s signal that it will not tolerate any effective protest in the country.

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