Wednesday 28 October 2015

Prominent Iranian Reformist Sentenced to Six Years in Prison

Esmail Gerami Moghaddam, a former Member of Parliament and spokesman for a reformist party has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Moghaddam’s lawyer, Nemat Ahmadi, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the trial took place on September 29, 2015, and was presided by Judge Salavati who issued a sentence of five years in prison for “collusion against the state.”

Salavati also reinstated a one-year prison sentence issued earlier against Moghaddam in absentia for “propaganda against the state” based on Article 500 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code.

Salavati is often hand picked by the Judiciary to preside over politically motivated cases due to the harsh sentences he hands down.

“We will object to the sentences within the 20-day limit and seek an appeal,” Ahmadi said.

Esmail Gerami Moghaddam is a former MP and spokesman for the Etemad Melli Party, which was established and led by Mehdi Karroubi, the Green Movement leader who has been under house arrest for the last five years. The Green Movement arose out of the mass protests over the disputed 2009 presidential election in Iran and the violent state crackdown that followed.

Moghaddam was arrested on July 17, 2015, at Imam Khomeini airport, after returning to Iran at the completion of his doctoral studies abroad. He had left Iran in 2009 following the state crackdown on political activists.

His arrest takes place within the context of the aggressive prosecution of political dissidents that has continued unabated since Rouhani’s election in 2013, despite his campaign promise to free political prisoners. During this time dozens of other Iranian expatriates have been arrested upon returning to Iran, despite assurances by President Rouhani of their safe return home.

“Gerami Moghaddam went abroad in 2009 to continue his studies in India and then Malaysia where he developed eye problems,” his lawyer told the Campaign. “He has lost 95 to 97 percent of his vision. He is not even able to recognize light. When people go blind in adulthood they don’t know how to function. Moghaddam has fallen down a few times in prison and broken his head. Someone has to bath him and take him to the toilet. He can’t do anything by himself. The prison doctor has said he isn’t fit to be in prison. We will emphasize his medical condition in the Appeals Court.”

Gerami Moghaddam is a veteran of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, who still carries shrapnel in his body from injuries sustained during the conflict.

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