Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – On the morning of October 28, 2018, attorney and human rights activist Mohammad Najafi and civil activist Abbas Safari were arrested and transferred to Arak Prison to serve their sentences the same evening.
Both men were previously detained along with nine others for participating in the January protests in Shazand County. Judge Mohammad Reza Abdollahi of Arak Criminal Court No. 2, Branch 102 sentenced both Najafi and Safari to three years in prison and 74 lashings for “publishing lies with intent to disrupt the public mind” and “disturbing the public peace.” The sentences were upheld in branch one of Markazi province Appeals Court.
Najafi got wind of his new “publishing lies” accusation via a writ he received October 13th from branch 1 of Shazand Investigation and Prosecutions office, where he was interrogated and ultimately charged for it.
Both Najafi and Safari have additional charges pending investigation in the Revolutionary Court of Arak.
Najafi was previously detained for inquiring into the death of civilian Vahid Heydari, who died in Police Detention Center No. 12 amid the January protests. Najafi challenged Iranian judicial authorities who had claimed Heydari was a drug dealer that committed suicide while in custody. Najafi’s interviews with Heydari’s loved ones suggest that Heydari was a street peddler with no criminal record, whose autopsy report showed none of the typical markers of suicide, but did indicate head injuries consistent with blunt-force trauma.
Tehran MP Mahmoud Sadeghi accused security authorities of fabricating the grounds for Najafi’s case, arguing that Najafi had simply proven that Heydari was not a drug dealer.
Safari, age 41, married, unemployed, is a resident of Shazand County who until his arrest on Sunday had been free on bail.
Arak and Shazand are located in Markazi Province, south of Tehran.