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Iran arrested 7,000 in crackdown on dissent during 2018 - Amnesty

Amnesty International says Iran arrested 7,000 people last year in a "shameless campaign of repression".

Those swept up by the crackdown included protesters, students, lawyers, journalists, environmental and women's rights activists, and trade unionists.

Hundreds were sentenced to prison or flogging. At least 26 protesters were killed and nine others died in custody.

The crackdown was a response to unrest over poverty, corruption and the lack of political and social freedoms.

"From underpaid teachers to factory workers struggling to feed their families, those who have dared to demand their rights in Iran today have paid a heavy price," .

Amnesty said at least 112 were arrested or remained in detention during 2018, when women began standing on raised structures in public places and taking off their headscarves to protest against the compulsory hijab law.

The prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who defended women arrested over the protests, was herself arrested in June and faces several national security-related charges. Ms Sotoudeh's husband Reza Khandan, who had campaigned for her release, was jailed for six years on Wednesday.

At least 63 activists and researchers were reportedly detained in 2018.

Without providing evidence, the authorities accused a number of them of collecting classified information about Iran's strategic areas under the pretext of carrying out environmental and scientific projects, according to Amnesty.

Five activists - Morad Tahbaz, Niloufar Bayani, Houman Jokar, Sepideh Kashani and Taher Ghadirian - were charged with "corruption on earth", a capital offence.

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