An Iranian court has sentenced former lawmaker and women’s rights advocate Faezeh Hashemi to five years in prison, her lawyer says, amid a brutal crackdown on nearly four months of nationwide anti-government protests.
Lawyer Neda Shams made the announcement on Twitter on January 9, adding that Hashemi, who is the daughter of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has the right to appeal the sentence.
Shams did not say what charges were levelled against Hashemi, but the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported that Tehran's public prosecutor accused the outspoken activist "spreading propaganda against the system."
Prior to her arrest in September, Hashemi said that the authorities refer to the ongoing demonstrations as “riots” and “sedition” in order to suppress them.
Security forces have killed more than 500 people and arrested over 18,000 others in their crackdown on the protests.
At least 17 people have been handed capital punishment in connection with the protest movement, which represents one of the most serious challenges to the theocracy installed by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.