Authorities in Iran have imprisoned the daughter of the country’s former President.
Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani – daughter of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani – has been sentenced to six months in jail following a conviction of making propaganda against the ruling system.
She has also been prohibited for participating in “political, cultural and media activities” for a period of five years, according to Mashregh, a conservative Iranian news site.
Faezeh, a former member of parliament herself and a long-time critic of the current government, underwent a trial last month that convened in private. She was also briefly held by authorities last February for appearing at a banned anti-government protest march.
She can however appeal her sentence within the next twenty days. Prison terms are often converted into suspended sentences on appeal in Iran.
BBC speculates that she is being punished for her father’s refusal to criticize Iran’s two principal reformists, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi.
Both Mousavi and Kartoubi have been under house arrest since last February.
In interviews with media, she has defended her father and recently addressed a crowd of Mousavi’s supporters.
However, her father, who served as president from 1987 to 1995, has seen his power and influence steadily erode in recent years since he criticized the controversial re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. He subsequently further alienated the extreme conservative wing of the Majlis (parliament) by demanding the release of anti-government protesters. By March of 2011 he was removed from his post as chief of the Assembly of Experts, Iran’s highest clerical body.
Also, Rafsanjani’s website has been shut down by authorities reportedly for endorsing the pro-reformists.