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Iran: Heavy Sentences for Journalist and Activists

Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

Six-Year Prison Sentences for Omid Montazeri and Hengameh Shahidi

Only a few days after being re-arrested, it was announced that Hengameh Shahidi's six-year prison sentence has been upheld in an appeals court and she must prepare for serving her sentence. Sources close to Shahidi's case told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that there is no evidence of crime in her file and that her sentence does not have a reasonable relation to what is in her file.

An informed source told the Campaign: "Her family and her attorney are in shock about how her six-year prison sentence has been upheld, as no fair judge can issue such a heavy sentence for someone who has not committed a crime. This sentence is completely politically motivated and there is no other justification for it."

Judge Salavati, who has issued several imprisonment and execution sentences over the past few months, has also announced Omid Montazeri's sentence as six years in prison. Omid Montazeri is one of the people arrested on Ashura Day (December 27, 2009).

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran is concerned about heavy sentences that do not bear any reasonable relation to the charges and that lack supporting evidence for the accusations. This concern also spans case reviews of post-elections political arrests, for example the fact that only one judge, Judge Salavati, has had the responsibility of reviewing tens of cases and has ruled for tens of years' imprisonment and death penalty in the cases of those arrested after the elections.

Shahidi's charges are propagation against the regime, mutiny, congregation, membership in an organization that has acted against national security, and insulting the president. Hengameh Shahidi was arrested on June 30, 2009 and was released after 50 days in prison on a $90,000 bail on October 31, 2009. She was arrested again on February 25, 2010, after she was summoned to the Ministry of Information's Investigation Office. The court's ruling was announced to Mohammad Mostafaee, Shahidi's attorney, yesterday. The appeals court has only reduced the charge of "insulting the president" in Shahidi's case. The ruling was issued by Branch 54 of Revolutionary Courts.

Shahidi was active in Mehdi Karroubi's elections campaign during the presidential elections. She went on hunger strike on October 24, 2009 to protest her unclear situation in prison after weeks of detention. She was released a week later on a $90,000 bail.

Omid Montazei had his first visit with his family after his December 28, 2009 arrest. Iran's Ministry of Information is responsible for his arrest and interrogation and he is currently in Ward 209 of Evin Prison.

Free Omid Montazeri Facebook

Montazeri was arrested after he went to Ministry of Information's Investigation Office to ask about his mother, Mahin Fahimi, who had been arrested the night before. He received a six-year prison term even though he is not a member of any political groups. Omid Montazeri is a journalist who writes commentaries in several newspapers. His area of journalism is philosophy and thought. Montazeri's father was among many political prisoners who were mass executed at Evin Prison in the late 1980's. Islamic Republic's authorities are highly sensitive to any actions by family members of those executed. Omid Montazeri's mother was released after 45 days in prison.

Heavy Sentences For Students on the Way: 15 Years for Ali Kantoori

Following the very heavy prison sentences and bail orders as high as $500,000 for political and student activists, Ali Kantoori, a student political activist was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment. His sentence was issued by Branch 104 of Sanandaj General Courts. A student activist close to his case told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that there is no evidence in Kantoori's case to support such a heavy sentence.

According to this source, court authorities did not take any of Kantoori's statements or those of his attorney's into consideration, and the sentence has been issued without regard to his defense. the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has been informed that this sentence has been issued just as other student activists in Iran have also faced heavy sentences. Some families have been attempting to contact the courts and judges before sentences are announced publicly, so that the sentences may be reconsidered and reduced, though none of these efforts seem to have been successful so far.

Kantoori was arrested in December 2007, near his residence in Qazvin. He was transferred to Ward 209 of Evin prison and then to Ghezel Hesar Prison. After five months in prison, he was released in May 2008, on a $150,000 bail. The Sanandaj Revolutionary Court first sentenced him to 32 months in prison on charges of propagation and mutiny and actions against national security, among other charges. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison at a trial which addressed his other charges. His attorney was informed of his sentence on February 23, 2010.

The sentencing came after Kantoori denied all charges made against him. His attorney has stated that there is no evidence supporting Kantoori's charges.

Student activist Eftekhar Barzegarian is held in hardened criminals' ward

A source close to the case of student activist Eftekhar Barzegarian told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that six months after this student's arrest, he remains in Vakil Abad Prison's dangerous criminals ward. Eftekhar Barzegarian is a Mashad Ferdowsi University student who has been deprived from continuing his education.

Despite earlier news about the Revolutionary Courts' decision to allow his release on bail and last month's announcement that his detention orders would end on February 25, 2010, Eftekhar Barzegarian remains in illegal detention and without orders, continuing his state of limbo.

It should be mentioned that Barzegarian had received bail orders, but his case investigator refused to accept the bail for his release. Eftekhar Barzegarian was expelled from his university after he had been deprived from continuing his education for four terms. During recent presidential elections, he was head of Mehdi Karroubi's student campaign in Mashad.

... Payvand News - 03/01/10 ... --

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