A court in Iran has jailed a young Kurdish woman for 15 years simply for holding up a piece of paper with ‘Mahsa Amini’ written on it.
Police in Tehran seized 26-year-old Marzieh Yousefzadeh as she carried out her one-woman protest on Keshavarz Boulevard on 19th September.
Officials remanded her in custody at the grim Qarchak Prison, where health conditions and sanitation are alleged to be poor.
She appeared before the 15th branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran, whose head is the notorious judge Abolqasem Salavati.
Salavati has been accused of frequently handing lengthy jail terms, lashes, or death to journalists, lawyers, political activists, and ethnic and religious minorities.
In one notorious case in 2014, he sentenced a man named Mohsen Amiraslani to be hanged for “heresy because he rejected the tale of Jonah and the Whale”.
He is sanctioned by the EU and the US Treasury Department.
It is believed Salavati himself handed Marzieh her sentence on 16th November. The charge or charges she was convicted of remain unclear.
Marzieh hails from Mahabad, West Azerbaijan Province, and is an ethnic Kurd. Kurdish people are Iran’s third-largest ethnic group, after Persians and Azeris.
Iranian minorities are believed by many human rights groups to disproportionately suffer from state repression.
Twenty-two-year-old Mahsa, whose death at the hands of morality police in September sparked the current wave of protests in Iran, was also Kurdish.
According to reports, Marzieh’s only family member is her mother, who lives in Kurdistan Province.
Foreign-based opposition media said her friends have been warned against commenting on the case.
The ongoing protests in Iran have so far claimed at least 342 lives, including 43 children, and injured at least 1,160, according to independent estimates.
Five protesters have been sentenced to death.