HRANA – Mr. Hamzeh Karami, a political activist and owner of “Jomhouriyat” website, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison and permanently banned from all government service by the Appellate Court. While on leave from prison, Security Forces exerted significant pressure on Mr. Karami to appear in a televised interview and speak against Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani. Mr. Karami is currently detained in Section 7 of Evin Prison in Tehran.
From to 1995 to 2001 – the period known as rebuilding and reform — Mr. Karami was the Policy Director of the Office of the President. In addition, during the Iran-Iraq war, he was the commander of the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran’s second borough and, from 1989 to 1995, he was the governor of Varamin. In summary, Mr. Karami has served the Islamic Republic in various executive and management positions for 29 years.
Mr. Karami received permission from Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court, presided by judge Salavati, for a 5-day leave from prison after posting a $2 Million bail. While on leave, Security Forces contacted him and insisted that he conduct an interview to discredit the leaders of the “Green Movement,” especially former president Rafsanjani and his son. Security Forces had provided assurances that if Mr. Karami went along with this interview, he would not return to prison. He refused to comply with this request.
Mr. Hamzeh Karami was arrested on June 18, 2009, in the aftermath of Iran’s presidential elections. He spent four and a half months in security wards and solitary confinement, where he was subjected to severe physical torture and pressure.
One of the main charges against Mr. Karami, who was the head of media relations for Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s campaign during the 9th presidential elections in 2005, was collaboration with Mr. Rafsanjani’s son, Mehdi Hashemi.
Of note, in the first several months of his detention, Mr. Karami was denied access to legal counsel and his lawyer was only able to submit a brief in the Appeals Court where he presented that all of his clients “confessions” in the lower court had been obtained under torture and were untrue.