Iranian footballer sentenced to 26 years in prison over anti-government protests

Tehran, Jan 9 (EFE).- An Iranian court has sentenced high-profile footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani to 26 years in prison for his alleged involvement in killing three security officers during nationwide anti-government protests.


Mizan news agency reported on Monday that three more protesters were given the death penalty after being convicted for the murder of three Basij militia members during protests in Isfahan on November 16.


Nasr-Azadani’s case grabbed international headlines and sparked criticism when soccer associations and global media speculated that he was sentenced to death in December.


The Persian news agency said the footballer got 16 years for his alleged complicity in the murder of the three security men, five years for mobilizing and colliding to threaten national security, and two more for being a member of illegal groups.


The footballer, who has played for various clubs in Iran, will thus serve the prison terms concurrently and spend 16 years in jail.


The court sentenced Saleh Mirhashemi, Majid Kazemi Sheikh Shabani, and Saeed Yaqoubi to death in the murder case.


The Iranian judiciary had sentenced several protesters to death in connection with the months-long anti-government demonstrations.


Four protesters have been executed, two of them on Sunday


The street protests spread across the country following the alleged death in custody of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, 22, in Tehran on September 16.


Amini was detained by the morality police on September 13, for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly.


The unrest has evolved into demands calling for the end of the Islamic republic founded by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.
Nearly 500 people have reportedly died in the almost three months of protests.


The Iranian judiciary has accused at least 2,000 people of various crimes during the demonstrations. EFE
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