Daughter of former Iranian leader starts prison sentence

Iran's Faezeh Hashemi was arrested last year for taking part in anti-government protests.

Story highlights

  • Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani was arrested last year for taking part in anti-government protests
  • She is serving a six-month sentence
  • Her father is Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former Iranian president

Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has arrived at Iran's notorious Evin prison to begin serving a six month sentence for making anti-government statements, semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Hashemi, who was picked up by authorities late Saturday, was arrested last year for taking part in anti-government protests. She was sentenced in January, just before Iran held parliamentary elections.

She will be carrying out her sentence in Evin's security unit, a relatively comfortable section of the prison.

Her father is a powerful cleric and former parliament speaker. In the past, Rafsanjani has been one of the government's most vocal critics.

He served two terms as president from 1989 to 1997, and is still widely believed to be one of the wealthiest and most politically powerful men in Iran.

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He had long been a staunch critic and bitter political rival of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Weeks after the 2009 elections, Rafsanjani condemned the regime's violent crackdown against the opposition movement and spoke out for the people's right to peacefully protest in a speech delivered at Tehran's Friday prayers.

He later toned down the attacks and made statements of apparent support of the regime and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In March 2011, Rafsanjani was replaced as head of Iran's Assembly of Experts, a powerful committee charged with electing and removing the leader of the Islamic Revolution and supervising his activities.