Farideh Moradkhani, the niece of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, was sentenced to three years in prison after calling on the international community to cut ties with her country’s government.
Moradkhani’s lawyer Mohammad Hossein Aghassi made the announcement in a tweet on December 9, saying that the sentence was handed down by a “special clergy court” which didn’t have jurisdiction to handle the case.
Khamenei’s niece was arrested on November 23 after she recorded a video calling on "freedom-loving" governments to expel Iranian ambassadors in support of the anti-government protest movement that has rocked Iran for more than 12 weeks.
Badri Hosseini Khamenei -- Moradkhani’s mother and the supreme leader’s sister -- published an open letter on December 6 criticizing her brother and his " authoritarian caliphate".
Anger over the September death of a 22-year-old woman in the custody of morality police has prompted Iranians to take to the streets nationwide to demand more freedoms and women's rights. The protest movement grew to represent the biggest threat to the Islamic government since the 1979 revolution.
The security forces' brutal crackdown on the demonstrations has killed more than 440 people, including dozens of children, according to human rights groups. At least 18,000 people have reportedly been arrested.