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A complete report about Soheil Babadi, imprisoned cyber activist

Posted on: 27th November, 2014
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  • Translator: S.A.
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Soheil Babadi

HRANA News Agency – The following report is a complete investigation about the arrest and 2.5 year prosecution process of Soheil Babadi, cyber activist prisoner at Karaj Rajaee shahr prison. In this thorough report large number of human rights violation of Iranian citizens are documented.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Soheil Babadi born in September 1978, is a graduate of computer engineering and was arrested on 22 May 2012 at a language school and was transferred to ward 2A at Evin Prison. The day after his arrest, several plain clothes security officers raided his house without providing a search warrant and searched his house for couple of hours. They confiscated his mobile phone, computer, books and his personal  and his wedding photos.

His friends and family were unaware of his whereabouts for 2 days and were looking for him at all possible locations related to intelligence and security services. On the second day of search, 3rd Branch of Shahid Moqaddas Court told them that he is on the list of people under interrogations with them but refused to provide any further information and did not allow a telephone conversation to his family. During the next couple of months, his family attempts to chase his case remained unsuccessful.

A close relative of Soheil Babadi told Hrana reporter: “during these months he was under extreme physical and mental torture. He was kept at solitary confinement and on the top of usual beatings was subjected to unbearable torture in various strange ways such as being handcuffed to hot pipes; being hanged from his handcuffs for hours and on occasions on days; and heavy blows to his back caused him severe and lasting back problems.

Although a lawyer was appointed during this period, Mr “Ghana’atkar”, Assistant to the public prosecutor of 3rd Branch, refuses to accept the lawyer and prevents any legal action. In addition, by co-operating with judge “Pirabbasi” at Branch 26 of Islamic Revolutionary Court, they unlawfully keep extending the temporary custody for Soheil Babadi. The family places a request with Mr “Jafar Dowlatabadi” to decide about his case. Hence, his case is being demanded from Moqaddas Court and in July 2012 it was transferred to Branch 26 at Islamic Revolutionary Court. However, several weeks later, the case was sent back to Shahid Moqaddas Court because it was incomplete.

In a phone call Soheil’s interrogator tells his family that if we are not willing, nothing will be done and we will send his case without final report to court which makes it bounce back to us. It is important to mention that during the whole period, the interrogator told the family that Soheil will be executed. He also accuses Soheil of moral allegations and puts a lot of pressure on his pregnant wife and demands that she gets a divorce from Soheil.

After 6 months of pregnancy, Soheil’s wife miscarried the child and the interrogator told this news to Soheil with unknown intention.

His wife being summoned to one of intelligence services buildings via telephone by the interrogator on different excuses that “I want to help him!” or “I want to give some news about him!” and etc. when his wife asked for an official summoning, she was told just to go to the address of 7th Alley, Ghanbarzadeh Street. In August, when the interrogator finally decides to sum up the case, he clearly says we will not let Soheil to come out; Soheil will remain in custody until the court date which might be in couple of years and after that he will have to remain in prison to serve a lengthy imprisonment sentence.

In the middle of these uncertainties and unsettlements and in January 2013, Soheil was transferred from Ward 2A to Ward 350 at Evin Prison and then to Karaj Rajaee-Shahr Prison. However, his case remained undecided and was prevented from being sent to the court so his hearing could take place.

Several times in verbal arguments, Mr Reshteh Ahmadi, the head of Shahid Moqaddas Court (Evin), tells Soheil “I swear to be headed Imam that I make sure you will be hanged.” On 17 March 2013, in Mr Reshteh Ahmadi’s last day at Shahid Moqaddas Court, Soheil’s case was sent to the State Penal Court. The charges mentioned on the bill of …….. of the case – number 910007- issued by 3rd Branch of Investigation Office at Shahid Moqaddas Court were: Blasphemy, insulting the Supreme Leader, insulting the President, gathering and collud against the National Security.

From March to July 2013, the case remained at the State Penal Court waiting for a hearing whereas this case was related to a person in prison and according to laws it should have been attended to with urgency. After several months, the case transferred to Branch 79 of State Penal Court under the supervision of Mohammadreza Mohammadi Kashkooli. In initial session of the hearing Mr Babadi insists that all the confessions in the case was taken under torture and beatings and protests against his initial presecution procedure. He also explains that among the weblogs and Facebook pages that were related to him under torture, there are articles and photos published after his arrest which show that he is not the owner of these blogs and Facebook pages.

He also mentions that the evidence in his case are fake and even by logging into those accounts these articles and posts could not be found. Finally, the judge agrees to an expert investigation and the case is given to official judicial expert (a group of 3 to 4 computer and communication experts) appointed by the court. In the sessions with these official experts, Soheil Babadi explains (and it was inserted to the case) that the account of “Abbasali Mohammad Abadi “is a fake account and there is no means to log into this account at the moment and you can give it a try from your computers. After the break, an expert announced that after technical evaluation with his colleagues, relating this account to “Shahram Amiri” (a profile which was related to Soheil Babadi) with the given reason is not justified to us and we need more evidences.

Also, Soheil Babadi tells that (this is also exactly inserted into the official experts’ report) in the case there are several posts in the content. The print provided by IRGC (Sepah) does not match normal Facebook pages and are simple HTML pages made by IRGC. IRGC basically took images from them and related them to me, investigate the pages related to “Abbasali Mohammad Abadi”. I do not have access to my account and to the internet to change anything but IRGC have access to these. The second issue are the posts written on 23 and 25 May 2012 titled “Long Live Abouzar….” Whereas I was arrested on 22 May 2012 and had no means to post in custody.

After 2 months and a full hearing session, the court announced that relating this account to Soheil Babadi based on the report by official experts is not eminent. It is important to mention that during this period IRGC (Sepah) Intelligence Services made every effort to increase length of prosecution process.

In February 2014 and after 6 hearing sessions, the court announced the end of prosecution process. It was expected that a verdict was given by mid-March. However, the verdict was delayed and it was announced in July 2014.

The important point in the bill of indictment number 340, was that the date of voting stated as 19 February 20104. But the verdict communicated in July 2014. During this period, every time the family or the lawyer followed up with the court to get an update, they received answers such as “the verdict is not signed by other four advisors” or “they are asking for a heavy sentence.” Another important issue is that in February 2014, Soheil was cleared from the charge of “insulting the profit” and the judge should have set him a bail by that time. However, on 15 July 2014, a bail of 1,000,000,000 Toman was set for Soheil at Evin Prison and his verdict was announced to him:

With regards to “gathering and collude and insulting the Supreme Leader” the court announces that due to the limited jurisdiction, the case will be referred to Islamic Revolutionary Court; with regards to the remaining charges, the court decides as the following: 5 years imprisonment and 74 lashes for the charge of “Blasphemy”, 6 months imprisonment and prohibition from leaving the country and 2 years exile to “Beshagard” at Bandar-e-Abbas on the charge of insulting the President. However, in this sentence there was no mention of the official judicial experts’ report and their professional opinion was not considered.

Yet, other incidents started to happen at the same time for him. With the excuse of publishing articles of Mr Babadi on various internet weblogs, the prosecutor at 3rd Branch of Moqaddas Court named “Asadi” ( who was promoted from the Media Court), opened a new case for Soheil in November 2013 on the charge of “Propaganda against state”. This case was referred to Branch 28 of Islamic Revolutionary Court and Judge “Moqeyeseie” issued a one-year-imprisonment sentence for him.

In February 2014, this sentence was appealed at Branch 54 of Appeal Court under the supervision of Judge “Pourarab” with the bill number 9209980220002002, archive number 920806. Although Mr Pourarab verbally promises to appoint experts to this case and he anticipates that this verdict will be changed and Soheil will be fined at the worst case Scenario he continues delaying the case and wasting time. On 17 July 2014 and on the same day that the family paid the bail and the release form was registered this sentence was sent directly to Enforcement Office at Evin Prison without being communicated to the accused or his lawyer and once again Soheil Babadi’s release prevented.

This took place while the duration of the sentence was for a year and Soheil already spent 2 years in prison until that date. In addition, according to the Article 134, this sentence should have been added to the previous 5 years sentence and in effect the executable sentence would have been just the 5 years imprisonment which he already paid the bail for. Even the Enforcement Office and Branch 54 refused to consider his previous served imprisonment and unlawfully executed the 1 year sentence from 17 July 2014.

With thorough preparation and planning IRGC officers attended Branch 54 and demanded a heavier sentence. The exact demand was made at State Penal Court but the story did not end there. Interrogators at Ward 2A of IRGC (Sepah) at Evin Prison convinced “Masoud Jafarabadi”- an inmate who helped recovering data from Soheil account- and provided him with full set of information about Soheil’s case which was left undecided at Penal Court (in June 2013) and also Soheil’s wife’s contacts details. With further help and co-operation of prison authorities such as “Mobin Momeni” the son of “Mr Momeni”- the Head of Intelligence at Ward 350- , “Javad Younesi” and “Ebrahim Ghorbani” they swindle 320,000,000 Toman from Soheil’s wife on empty promises of his release.

When this information leaked from Ward 2A about the wrong doing of the prison authorities, they were inserted into the case and Mr Jafarabadi clearly admitted to these doings at the hearing. Finally, the case was sent by second Investigation Office at Moqaddas Court to Qods Court Complex with indictment bill number 930520/1161 and case number 9309972180100741 dated 16 August 2014. The judge sentenced against the accused prison authorities on swindling charges but the money taken was never recovered.

During this time a case opened by Soheil Babadi with regards to ill-treatment from interrogators and investigators based on evidence in his case and pathology reports about his injuries gets closed on the basis of missing documents and incomplete evidence.

Soheil Babadi was among the injured people from the attack on Ward 350 on 17 April 2014. At the moment the final part of his case has been sent to Branch 28 at Islamic Revolutionary Court with the case number D/T/19634 and is still undecided. He is also kept at Karaj Rajaee Shahr Prison (with the excuse that it is under supervision of Tehran state government) unlawfully. In addition, despite of the order about Separation of Crimes for normal and dangerous prisoners, his request for his transfer to Tehran remains unanswered.

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