Iranian Supreme Leader’s Niece Gets 3-Year Sentence for Backing Protests
A court in Iran has sentenced Farideh Moradkhani, the niece of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to three years in prison after she called on the international community to cut ties with the Iranian government. Her sentence came from a “special clergy court” that, her lawyer Mohammad Hossein Aghassi says, does not have jurisdiction over the case. Moradkhani was arrested on November 23 after she called, in a video, for “freedom-loving” governments to expel Iranian ambassadors in support of the anti-government protest movement that has shaken the country since the death of a 22-year-old woman in the custody of the morality police more than 12 weeks ago. Moradkhani’s mother and the supreme leader’s sister, Badri Hosseini Khamenei, spoke out against her brother and his “authoritarian caliphate” in an open letter published on December 6. Human rights groups say security forces have killed more than 440 demonstrators, including dozens of children, and arrested at least 18,000 people, in the crackdown on the protests. Human rights groups have condemned the decision and called on the international community to support Moradkhani and other dissidents in Iran.