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.

Telegram Activist Transferred to Intelligence Ward in Evin Prison

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Alireza Tavakoli, a Telegram activist who was held in Tehran’s Evin Prison for more than two years, was transferred yesterday from Ward 8 to a ward in the prison known as “209”, which is operated by the Ministry of Intelligence and does not fall under prison jurisdiction.

A source close to Mr Tavakoli told HRANA: “Alireza Tavakoli was transferred from Ward 8 to Ward 209, and the Ministry of Intelligence is likely to open a new prosecution against him.”

In July, Mr Tavakoli had written an open letter to Seyed Mahmoud Alavi, a cleric and Intelligence Minister appointed by Hassan Rouhani, regarding his five-year prison sentence, calling the verdict “outrageous”.

Alireza Tavakoli was arrested in 2016 on blasphemy charges along with two other Telegram activists, Mohammad Mohajer and Mohammad Mehdi Zaman Saleh. They were sentenced to a 12-year prison term each, but their sentences were reduced by an appeals court to five years each.

Mr Tavakoli suffers from joint and intestinal pain. Recently, judicial authorities opposed a request by the Ministry of Intelligence to conditionally release Alireza Tavakoli, Mohammad Mohajer and Mohammad Mehdi Saleh.

Telegram Stickers Provided By HRANA Are Available

HRANA News Agency – Due to the importance of using social networks capacity for transmission the concepts and issues relating to the human rights, HRANA News Agency is providing the trial version of their “Telegram” stickers.

In fact, HRANA’s aim is to use informal articles, and sometimes rely on humor and irony concepts, although bitter, to familiarize citizens with human rights issues, due to the brevity of words and often use the humor in some Stickers, different and conflicting interpretations are possible, however, this package is just a trial version and after gathering the different opinions and views, will certainly be optimized and improved. Continue reading “Telegram Stickers Provided By HRANA Are Available”