Mahsa Yazdani, whose son was killed by police during the 2022 protests in Iran, has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for insulting sacred entities and defaming the leader of the Islamic Republic.
Her son, Mohammad Javad Zahedi, was one of the hundreds of protesters who were shot and killed by security forces in November 2022, when millions of Iranians took to the streets to demand political and economic reforms.
Since then, she has been seeking justice for her son and supporting other families of victims of state violence.
She was arrested in August 2023 and released on bail pending trial. She was convicted on October 30, 2023 by a revolutionary court in Tehran.
Her daughter, Mitra Zahedi, asked who is accountable for the cruelty against her mother and her brother.
“Who is accountable for this cruelty against my mother and my brother?” she wrote on Twitter. “Is this the justice that they claim to uphold?”
Mahsa Yazdani’s case is not an isolated one. Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman who was arrested for participating in the same protests, died in police custody under suspicious circumstances.
She was posthumously awarded the European Union’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, which honors individuals and groups who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“Mahsa Amini is a symbol of the courage and resilience of Iranian women who face oppression and injustice every day,” said David Sassoli, president of the European Parliament.
“The awarding of the Sakharov Prize to Mahsa Amini is a recognition of her struggle for freedom and dignity, as well as a message of solidarity to all those who continue to fight for human rights in Iran,” said Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief.
The Iranian government has been accused of cracking down on dissent and human rights defenders, especially women, by using arbitrary arrests, torture, enforced disappearances, and executions.
– Mother of Killed Iranian Protester Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison, IranWire, October 30, 2023
– Mahsa Amini, the woman who died in police custody, is awarded EU human rights prize, ABC News, October 19, 2023
– Iran’s Mahsa Amini Awarded EU’s Top Human Rights Prize, MSN, October 19, 2023
– Mahsa Amini, the Kurdish-Iranian woman who died in police custody, is awarded EU human rights prize, AOL, October 19, 2023