Iran supreme leader’s niece sentenced to 3 years for supporting ongoing protests

The niece of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Farideh Moradkhani, an outspoken critic of the Islamic Republic, was arrested in November when she declared her support for the ongoing anti-regime protests taking place across Iran.

She even called on the international community to cut ties with Tehran, wrote Moradkhani’s lawyer, Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, on Twitter.

Aghasi also said that his client was initially sentence to 15 years in prison, but after an appeal, Moradkhani’s sentence was reduced.

He also noted that the outspoken critic was tried by Iran’s Special Clerical Court, a body independent of the country’s judiciary tasked with prosecuting clerics and answers only to the supreme leader.

Moradkhani’s lawyer explained that the court has no jurisdiction over his client’s case given she is not a cleric.

He also did not say what his client was charged with, and authorities have not commented on the case to date.

Moradkhani has been arrested twice, earlier this year and in 2018, for being critical of the regime.

Earlier this week, Badri Hosseini Khamenei, Moradkhani’s mother and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s sister, also declared her opposition to her brother’s regime, and called on military forces to join protesters before ‘it’s too late’.

She reportedly expressed her views in letter shared by her son, who is based in France.

“Ali Khamenei’s Revolutionary Guards and mercenaries should lay down their weapons as soon as possible and join the people before it is too late,” the letter read.

“As my human duty, many times I brought the voice of the people to the ears of my brother Ali Khamenei decades ago. However, after I saw that he did not listen and continued the way of [ex-Supreme Leader Ruhollah] Khomeini in suppressing and killing innocent people, I cut off my relationship with him,” she continued.

Protests erupted across Iran since September 16 after 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died after she was arrested by morality police in Tehran.

At least 458 people, including 63 children and 29 women, have been killed by security forces in the protests, according to the Oslo-based rights group Iran Human Rights.