Tuesday 07 February 2017

Former Political Prisoner Gets One-Year Prison Sentence On Recycled Charges

Navid Kamran, a former political prisoner, has been sentenced to one year in prison without any new evidence supporting the charge against him of “propaganda against the state,” he told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

“When the agents came into the shop jointly owned by me and [former prisoner of conscience] Arash [Sadeghi], they only had a warrant for Arash’s arrest. Nevertheless, they also arrested me, Arash’s wife [Golrokh Iraee], and Behnam Mousivand,” Kamran told the Campaign in an interview. “All the things they accused me of during interrogation and the trial were stuff I did years ago for which I’ve already spent time in prison. It seems that now that they had me under arrest, they wanted to punish me.”

Kamran was arrested at his stationery store on Azarbaijan Street in Tehran on September 6, 2014 along with three others including his business partner, former student activist Arash Sadeghi, by the Revolutionary Guard’s Intelligence Organization. They were released on bond a few days later.

“Arash and I jointly owned a stationery store. When the agents came in, they only showed a warrant for Arash’s arrest. They searched the store and confiscated my laptop. Then one of the agents stayed with me and the others took away Arash to search his home. When they left, my wife, Arash’s wife, [Golrokh Iraee] and my friend Behnam [Mousivand] came to the store just by chance to see us. That’s when they noticed the agents,” said Kamran.

“A little later the other agents returned with Arash to the shop and then I don’t know why they decided to take all of us [except for my wife] with them, even though they were only supposed to arrest Arash. At first we were all taken to Evin Prison but the prison officials didn’t take us in because there was no arrest warrant. They only took in Arash. Then they took us to another detention center but I had no idea where it was. We spent the night there and in the morning they took us back to Evin. We were interrogated, charged and put in a cell. I was released four days later on one billion rials bond (about $33,000 USD),” he told the Campaign.

Kamran added that he had only learned through Sadeghi’s lawyer that the Appeals Court had upheld his one-year prison sentence issued by Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court. Kamran’s own lawyer has not yet been informed about the appellate ruling.

The Appeals Court also upheld the 15-year prison sentence against Sadeghi, a six-year prison sentence against his wife, Golrokh Iraee, and a one-year prison sentence against Mousivand. All four are awaiting the summons to serve their prison terms.

Asked about the evidence that was presented against him, Kamran told the Campaign: “They mostly pointed at my Facebook posts. But my Facebook page had been inactive for a long time and I was not posting anything there. They also said I had prepared and gathered signatures for a number of political statements. But all I did was sign statements about things like respecting the rights of political prisoners and calling for their freedom. They also criticized me for visiting the families of political prisoners but in fact all I did was visit my friends when they got out of prison.”

Kamran was previously arrested for attending the peaceful protests against the widely disputed results of the 2009 presidential elections.

He was sentenced to 33 months in prison and 74 lashes by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Yahya Pirabbasi for “propaganda against the state,” “collusion against national security” and “disturbing public order.” He was released in 2011 after serving his prison term.

In 2009 Behnam Mousivand was also sentenced to a two-year suspended prison sentence for protesting the contested results of the presidential elections.



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