More Than 200 Indicted In Iranian Province Amid Crackdown On Protesters

Iran's judiciary says it has issued indictments for 201 people over their participation in antigovernment protests in the central province of Alborz.

Hossein Fazeli Harikandi, the chief justice of the province, said on October 24 that those indicted are the "main and active agents," mainly because they invited people to protest on social media.

He did not give an exact number for how many people were detained, but he said around two-thirds of those taken into custody had already been released on bail, indicating more than 600 people in total had been rounded up.

The latest wave of dissent was sparked by the death on September 16 of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody for allegedly wearing a hijab improperly.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently said the protesters "are either agents of the enemy, or if they are not agents, they are in the same direction as the enemy."

Fazeli Harikandi said Khamenei's statement is "the road map of the judicial system."

Since Amini's death, protests have been held across the country in one of the biggest challenges to the Islamic republic's leadership since the 1979 revolution.

Tehran Prosecutor Ali Salehi said 315 defendants have been indicted and convicted for their involvement in the "recent riots" in the capital, with the official IRNA news agency quoting him as saying four of the protesters were accused of "waging war against God," which in Iran may be punishable by death.

The prosecutor of Tehran accused the arrested protesters of gathering and colluding with the intention of acting against the security of the country, propaganda activity against the system, and the disruption of public order.

The government has met the protests with a brutal crackdown that the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights says has killed at least 215 people, including 27 children.

So far, no official authority in Iran has announced the exact number of detainees.

Recently, lawmaker Ahmed Alireza Beigi said that during the protests, only 3,000 of the people who were arrested in Tehran Province were transferred to Fashafouyeh prison.

Meanwhile, in a show of anger over government policies, students at various universities across the country had a group lunch, flouting rules on the compulsory gender segregation in the cafeteria. In response, security forces moved in and beat some of the students while threatening to arrest them.

Videos published on social networks show security forces attacking protesting students who gathered at the Sharif University of Tehran.

The authorities at the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran subsequently closed the cafeteria and served food outside to prevent male and female students from eating together.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda