Mahsa Yazdani, a 50-year-old Iranian mother, has been sentenced to 13 years in prison by a revolutionary court in Tehran for demanding justice for her son who was shot and killed by security forces during anti-regime protests in 2019.
Her son, Mohammad Javad Zahedi, a 19-year-old student, was one of the estimated 1,500 people who died in the crackdown on the nationwide protests that erupted after a sudden hike in fuel prices.
Mahsa Yazdani was arrested in June 2020 after she posted videos and messages on social media, accusing the authorities of killing her son and covering up his death. She also called for the release of political prisoners and the end of the Islamic Republic.
She was charged with blasphemy, incitement, insulting the supreme leader, and spreading anti-regime propaganda. She was denied access to a lawyer and a fair trial.
“They killed my son and now they want to kill me too. I will not be silent. I will not give up until they admit that they killed my son and thousands of others,” she said in one of her videos.
Her daughter, Narges Zahedi, who lives in Canada, said her mother was not a criminal but a grieving mother who wanted justice for her son.
“She has the right to express her pain and anger. She has the right to know the truth. She has the right to live in freedom and dignity,” she said.
Several human rights groups have condemned the sentence and called for international attention and action to address the human rights violations in Iran.
“The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Mahsa Yazdani and drop all the charges against her. She is a prisoner of conscience who is being punished for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression and association,” said Amnesty International.
Human Rights Watch said the sentencing of Mahsa Yazdani was a shocking example of the ongoing repression and injustice in Iran.
“The international community must not turn a blind eye to the plight of the Iranian people who are suffering under a brutal regime that violates their most basic human rights,” it said.
Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a coalition of opposition groups, said the Iranian regime was afraid of the mothers of the martyrs who had become the voice of the oppressed and the resistance.
“They cannot silence them with intimidation and imprisonment. They cannot erase the memory and the legacy of their children who sacrificed their lives for freedom and democracy,” she said.
– Iranian mother jailed for 13 years after denouncing death of son shot at protest, The Guardian, Thu 2 Nov 2023
– Iranian mother jailed for 13 years for demanding justice for son shot during protest, MSN, Thu 2 Nov 2023
– Iranian Mother Gets 13 Years Sentence After Denouncing Death of Son Shot at Protest, Aawsat, Thu 2 Nov 2023
– Iranian woman jailed for 13 years for protesting death of son killed during Mahsa Amini protests, WION, Thu 2 Nov 2023