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Iran: Two more activists receive heavy sentences

02/01/11 Source: Radio Zamaneh

Navid Khanjani

Kaveh Ghassemi

Iranian judiciary slapped human rights activist Navid Khanjani with 12 years in prison and a monetary fine for his journalistic activities, interviews with the foreign media and membership in Human Rights Reporters committee. Khanjani who is banned from pursuing higher education was also charged for "founding an organization for people banned from pursuing higher education."

He was also banned from travelling abroad in an earlier sentence.

Navid Khanjani was arrested last March in Esfahan and after over two months in Evin Prison was released on a $100,000 bail.

Khanjani has been attacked in the media since his arrest as "a member of the cyber army" and "one of the perpetrators of the soft war" against the Islamic Republic.

Reportedly he was under severe pressure during his interrogations to submit to recorded interviews by the intelligence ministry confessing to self-incriminating charges.

A s a member of the Baha'i religious minority in Iran, he was banned from pursing higher education against which he was involved in many activities for defence of the right to education.

Khanjani's 12-year sentence is the heaviest prison term handed to a human rights activist by the Islamic Republic so far.

Five years in prison for Iranian human rights activist

Kaveh Ghassemi, Iranian journalist and human rights activist was sentenced to five years in prison by Kermanshah Revolutionary Court.

Ghassemi was charged with "activity against national security" through membership in Kurdistan Human Rights Organization and "propaganda against the regime" by giving interviews to the media and publishing news and reports about families of political prisoners and victims, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reports.

The Campaign reports that the Kurdish activist was given the highest possible penalty meted out to such cases by the Islamic penal code.

In addition to confiscating Ghassemi's passport and some of his other personal documents, the court has seized his laptop, computers, cell phone, camera, printer and a number of other items that were confiscated at the time of the arrest.

Ghassemi's lawyer, Mostafa Ahmadian described his client's sentence "unprecedented" and "far too heavy" saying: "None of my client's activities, which were indeed done in good faith and with humanitarian intentions, constitute activity against national security or propaganda against the regime." He added that he is certain to appeal the sentence.

Kaveh Ghassemi was arrested last February in Kermanshah and after 110 days in prison 80 of which were in solitary confinement, was released on a $100,000 bail in May.

Ghassemii is an executive member of Kurdistan Human Rights Organization. He is also a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign to End Discriminatory Laws as well as Iran's largest student organization, Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat.

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