Iran arrests lawyer critical of 2022 crackdown after Amini death

An outspoken Iranian lawyer who has publicly criticized how the government handled the 2022 protests has been arrested, state media reported Sunday.

The unrest at the time followed the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini who was detained by the police for allegedly not properly wearing her mandatory hijab.

Her death triggered massive protests that quickly escalated into calls to overthrow Iran’s four-decade-old Islamic theocracy.

The judiciary’s Mizan news agency said Sunday that Mohsen Borhani had been previously sentenced but did not give further details on his case or jail time issued.

Borhani, also a university professor, became popular on social media for his critical views of the Iranian government during the 2022 demonstrations that shook the Islamic Republic and sparked a security crackdown that killed more than 500 people and saw over 22,000 detained.

UN investigators said Iran is responsible for the physical violence that led to her death,

The arrest came a day after reformist president Masoud Pezeshkian was elected to lead the country.

Pezeshkian won a runoff election on Friday against the ultraconservative Saeed Jalili to replace president Ebrahim Raisi who died in a helicopter crash in May.

The 69-year-old reformist secured more than 16 million votes, around 54 percent, with Jalili winning more than 13 million, roughly 44 percent, out of about 30 million votes cast.

However many Iranians are sceptical about his ability to fulfil his campaign promises as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not the president, is the ultimate authority in the Islamic Republic.

“Dear people of Iran, the election is over, and this is just the beginning of our working together. A difficult road is ahead. It can only be smooth with your cooperation, empathy and trust,” Pezeshkian said in a post on social media platform X.

“I extend my hand to you and swear on my honour that I will not abandon you on this path. Do not abandon me.”

Pezeshkian promised to ease enforcement of the country’s mandatory headscarf law and reach out to the West after years of sanctions and protests squeezing the Islamic Republic.

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