Four Sentenced to Prison for Political Activism

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Morteza Nazari Sedhi, a political prisoner in Ward 4 of Evin Prison, has been sentenced to prison together along with his wife Zahra Zare Seraji.

The Revolutionary Court of Baharestan County in Tehran Province sentenced both Sedhi and Seraji with forming an illegal group, disseminating lies in cyberspace, and propaganda against the regime. Among the evidence cited against them was their forming of online political groups, recruitment of participants in the January protests, membership in monarchist groups via a social messaging app called Telegram, a close source told HRANA.

Sedhi was sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison, two years of exile to Azna County in central Lorestan province, and a fine. Seraji got an eight-year sentence and a fine on the same convictions, while their co-defendants Ali Kabirmehr and Ali Bazazadeh were both sentenced to 13-year prison terms.

All of the defendants will be required to learn sections of the Quran as part of their sentence.

Nazari Sedhi and Seraji were in a bad physical and psychological condition as of their sentencing, the source added.

Seraji had been previously released on a bail of 2 billion rials (approximately $48,000 USD).

Telegram Admin Faces 11 More Years Behind Bars

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Tehran Revolutionary Court Branch 15 ruled October 3rd to sentence Telegram channel administrator and current prisoner Hamidreza Amini to eleven more years in prison. Judge Salavati presided over the hearing, and Amini’s lawyer was present.

Amini has been detained since December of last year on charges of “disseminating lies”, “blasphemy” and “insulting high-ranking officials of the Islamic Republic.”

An informed source updated HRANA on Amini’s fate as of yesterday’s trial: five years in prison for charges of “assembly and collusion against national security,” one year in prison for ”propaganda against the regime,” and two years in prison for “insulting the supreme leader.” He was acquitted of “insulting the prophet.”

The “insulting the prophet” charge was previously deliberated in August of this year in Tehran Criminal Court Branch 9, presided by Judge Kashkuli. HRANA previously reported on the court hearing, which tried Amini for both “insulting the prophet” and “blasphemy.” Amini’s lawyer Mohammad Hossein Aghasi correctly predicted at the time that the former charge would be dropped.

Earlier, in June, HRANA reported on the postponement of hearing that had been scheduled to try Amini for “insulting the supreme leader and high-ranking officials” in Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court. The session, which would have been presided by Judge Salvati, was postponed pursuant to Article 48 of Islamic Penal Code, which grants defendants more time to select their attorney.

On May 30th, Amini was ordered to pay a fine of 40 million IRR [approximately $400 USD] by Branch 57 of a new court focused on media crimes. He was charged with “spreading misinformation with intent to disturb the public mind.” His lawyer explained to HRANA that his client was charged pursuant to Article 18 of the Computer Crime Code.

Amini has been detained in Evin Prison since December 2, 2017. It has yet to be determined if his prison sentences could be reduced with the application of Article 134 of the code, which limits defendants’ prison terms to the longest among their multiple sentences.

Imprisoned Telegram Activist Farrokh Abdi Issued Additional Sentence

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Last Thursday, August 16, 2018, Urmia resident and Telegram activist Farrokh Abdi was sentenced by Branch 102 of the Criminal Court of Urmia to fifteen months of discretionary imprisonment for “insulting sanctities.”

Abdi previously received a three-year sentence from Branch 2, which was reduced to fifteen months in an appeals court, for “collaboration with anti-regime groups”.

An informed source told HRANA that Farrokh Abdi is currently detained in the general Ward 3-4 of Urmia Prison. In a punitive measure disproportional to the severity of his conviction, the source added, officials have forestalled his transfer to the prison’s political ward.