Death Sentence of Hossein Kheiri Commuted to Five Years Imprisonment

Branch 29 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced political prisoner Hossein Kheiri to five years in prison. He had been sentenced to death for “enmity against God (Moharebeh), through destruction of public property with the intention to defy the regime.” Once the verdict was revoked by the Supreme Court of Iran in mid-January of this year, the case was handed over to Branch 29. Recently, Mr. Kheiri was relocated from Evin to Rajai Shahr Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the death sentence of Hossein Kheiri was commuted to five years imprisonment.

Seven other defendants of this case, Majid Kahrari, Fardin Asgari, Nima Heidari, Milad Karami, Mahmood Karami, and two others were sentenced to a total of 34 years and 6 months by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. The charges against them varied from “assembly and collusion to act against national security” to “enmity against God.”

Earlier, in reaction to the death penalty verdict against his client, attorney Babak Paknia stated that “there are many flaws in this case” and “the charge of Moharebeh does not fit the actions taken by my client.” He had expressed hope that the Supreme Court would reduce the verdict.

In 2020, along with seven other individuals, Hossein Kheiri, age 35, was arrested by security forces in Tehran.  

Vahid Bani-Amerian and Pooya Ghobadi Each Sentenced to 10 Years Imprisonment

Two political prisoners, Vahid Bani-Amerian and Pooya Ghobadi, serving their sentences in Evin Prison and the Greater Tehran Prison respectively, were each sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in exile in their second legal case.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, headed by Judge Moghayeseh, sentenced Bani-Amerian and Ghobadi. In this new legal case, they were charged with the destruction of public property and advocating for the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (Mujahedin-e-Khalq). According to their lawyer, Babak Paknia, the charge of “enmity against God” was dismissed by the court. The first court session was held in October of this year, but their lawyer asked for a retrial due to defective legal documents and failure to comply procedure.

In May of 2018, Bani-Amerian and Ghobadi were arrested by security forces in Tehran and transferred to Evin Prison. After four months of interrogation, they were sent to the public ward of Evin Prison. In November of 2019, Ghobadi was relocated to The Greater Central Prison while Bani-Amerian remained in Evin Prison.

In their first legal case, each was sentenced to 8 years in prison on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security”, offensive statements against the Supreme Court” and “propaganda against the regime”. For these charges, grounded in Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the most severe punishment of 5 years was enforced for each prisoner.

Hossein Kheiri Sentenced to Death for “Moharebeh”

Babak Paknia, the lawyer of political prisoner Hossein Kheiri, announced the issuance of the death sentence to his client on charges of Moharebeh by destroying property with the intention to oppose the regime.

Moharebeh, loosely translated as “waging war against God”, is a pillar of Sharia Law that is typically applied to those suspected of connection to any acts against the state.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the Emtedad news, Paknia has stated, “Our strong evidence shows that the charge of moharebeh does not fit the actions taken by my client.”

He explained that an indictment was issued by the Evin Security Court against eight people, of whom four were accused of moharebeh and the rest were prosecuted on charges of collusion against national security and the like.

“We defended and the court accepted that out of the four, three could not be punished under the guise of moharebeh, but the actions of Hossein Kheiri were recognized as moharebeh and a death sentence was issued for him,” Paknia said. “We will submit our bill of appeal in two weeks to be reconsidered in the Supreme Court.”