Seventy-one Iranian men and women were summoned to Behbahan’s Public and Revolution Court on November 7, for “investigations” into their participation in July protests.
The 71 citizens must appear in court within the next 5 days in Behbahan, a city in the southeastern Khuzestan Province.
The men and women were charged with “insulting the Supreme Leader, disrupting public order and the country’s security, and assembly and collusion against national and foreign security”.
July 2020 Protests in Southern Iran
Iranian protesters took to the streets in the southern cities of Shiraz and Behbahan on July 16 to protest dire economic conditions and the impending death penalty for three young men who were arrested during the protests in November 2019.
Videos from Behbahan, showed protesters on the streets chanting against the execution sentences for Amir-Hossein Moradi, Mohammad Rajabi and Saeed Tamjidi.
Iranian Regime Crack Down on Protests
Though the July protests were completely peaceful in nature, the state security forces fired tear gas into the crowds in Behbahan to disburse the anti-regime protesters.
Netblocks.org reported internet restrictions in Khuzestan and reports on Twitter said internet had been cut in Behbahan. Iranian authorities disrupt the internet during protests not to allow people to coordinate gatherings and prevent information from being shared.
The Security Chief of Khuzestan Province on July 19, 2020, said all of the individuals that he called “instigators of the protest rally in Behbahan on July 16” were arrested.
Speaking to the state-run IRNA news agency, Heydar Abbaszadeh said the protest rally was “a transgression”. He claimed that “a handful” of people in Behbahan had rallied in a square in the city and protested “under the pretext of complaining about high prices” and chanted slogans “against the norms of the society”, which in official jargon means demanding regime change.
Abbaszadeh did not announce any names and did not say how many people were detained.
Social media users reported that during the July protests security forces arrrested Farzaneh Ansarifard, the sister of Farzad Ansarifard who was killed in Behbahan during the November 2019 protests.
November 2019 protests in Behbahan
Behbahan was one of the first cities where security forces clashed with protesters in November 2019. At dozens of protesters were killed in that city during the November uprising.
Mehrdad Dashti Nia and his brother Mahmoud Dashti Nia, Farzad Ansari Far, Mohammad Hossein Ghanavati, Ehsan Abdollah Nejad and Mohammad Hasham are among those shot and killed by the state security forces in Behbahan in November 2019.
Iranian regime has imposed harsh sentences on 36 residents of Behbahan who joined the nationwide protests in November 2019.
The 36 protesters were handed their sentences by the city’s criminal court October 22. The defendants were sentenced to a cumulative total of 109 years in prison and 2,590 lashes, while each individual was fined more than 3 million tomans.