Iran sentences activist to prison again over protests
An Iranian court has sentenced a prominent activist and vocal supporter of nationwide protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death to more than five years in jail, his lawyer said. Arash Sadeghi, a former student activist and freedom of expression campaigner, was released on bail last week following his arrest in October during an intense phase of the protest movement.
His lawyer, Ramin Safarnia, said on Twitter that Sadeghi had been sentenced to five years for attending illegal gatherings, and another eight months for “propaganda against the regime”.
Iranian law permits courts to decide that jail time for different offences be served concurrently, but it was unclear whether such a decision had been made in Sadeghi’s case. Sadeghi, who has been in and out of prison since 2009, is not believed so far to have been re-arrested. It’s relatively common in Iran for defendants in such cases to be free when the sentences are issued, and then summoned later by the authorities to serve their term.
Sadeghi’s lawyer also said that the Revolutionary Court has ordered the activist to move out of Tehran, given him a two-year travel ban, and barred him from online activities. It was not immediately clear when these restrictions were due to take effect, or how long the internet ban would remain in force.
Life at risk
Sadeghi’s father, Hossein, confirmed the verdict and added on Twitter:
My God, is this a fair sentence?
Sadeghi has cancer, needs specialised medication, and is in fragile health. In December 2022, experts from the United Nations said:
Arash Sadeghi suffers from life-threatening bone cancer, and he has been deprived of some medication he requires since his arrest in October.
They reminded Iranian authorities of their obligations under international human rights law, stating:
in breach of their international human rights obligations, Iranian authorities are not only continuing the unlawful detention of Mr. Sadeghi, but once again putting his life at imminent risk.
He was sentenced in 2013 to 19 years in prison on national security charges, which he began serving in 2016 but was released after five years due to health issues. Sadeghi was one of several prominent dissidents jailed in the crackdown on the anti-regime protests following Amini’s September 16 death in custody, after her arrest for allegedly violating strict dress rules for women. Sadeghi’s wife, the journalist and activist Golrokh Iraee, was arrested in September and remains in jail, according to reports from Persian-language media.
At least 481 people have been killed in the crackdown on the four-month protest movement, according to Norway-based group Iran Human Rights. Authorities say thousands have been arrested.
Featured image via YouTube screenshot/BBC News
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse
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