Journalist Ejlal Ghavami Sentenced to Prison Time in Absentia

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – In a note on September 26th, human rights activist and journalist Ejlal Ghavami announced the news of his most recent legal tensions with Iranian authorities: four days earlier, he had been sentenced in absentia to eight months in prison for “spreading lies with intent to cause confusion among the masses,” pursuant to the findings of Branch 2 of Investigations Court, located in the Beheshti Judicial Complex of Sanandaj.

Ghavami was read these charges on August 20th of this year by Branch 109 of Sanandaj Criminal Court No. 2, in western Iran, which cited Ghavami’s writings as evidence for the conviction. Shortly thereafter, he was released on bail.

Authorities were already pursuing Ghavami for his media activities on March 25th of this year, when the Sanandaj cyber police– in response to complaints about him from the Basij– interrogated him about anti-governmental Telegram channels and the widespread protests that overtook Iran in January. Pursuant to these investigations, Branch One of Kurdistan Investigations Court charged him with “communication and collaboration with anti-regime channels” and “spreading lies and illegal materials.”

Though Ghavami was previously tried and acquitted in a preliminary court of “propaganda against the regime,” “speaking to anti-regime media,” “spreading lies,” and “insulting the IRGC,” the prosecutor objected to his initial acquittal, and he has been summoned to face the same charges again, on November 18th in Branch Four of Kurdistan Province Appeals Court.

On June 9th, along with civil activists of Kurdistan province Hiva Rahimi and Ahmad Khaliqi, Ghavami was summoned to the intelligence office of the IRGC for unknown reasons.

In a statement issued on August 31st, Amnesty International condemned the draconian sentencing of Iranian journalists by authorities.