Iranian lawyer, Mohammad Najafi, has been sentenced to ten years in jail for “assisting hostile governments by participating in interviews with foreign media”. Najafi is already serving another three-year sentence in Arak Prison.

Mohammad Najafi

The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported that a Revolutionary Court in Arak has issued sentences for five individuals who were charged in the course of the protests of last December in Shazand.

Mohammad Najafi and Ali Bagheri have each been sentenced to 13 years in jail. Masoud Ajloand Behzad AliBakhshi has each been sentenced to two years, while Abbas Safari has been acquitted of the charges against him.

Najafi and Bagheri each faced three different charges. They were acquitted from the charge of “establishment and membership in groups acting against national security”; however they were sentenced to two years for “propaganda against the regime”, one year for “insulting the leader” and ten years for “assisting hostile governments by participating in interviews with VOA, Radio Farda, and Persian BBC”.

Ajloo and AliBakhshi were each sentenced to two-year suspended sentences for “insulting the leader”, while Abbas Safari was found not guilty of membership in illegal groups acting against national security.

Payam Derakhshan, Mohammad Najafi’s lawyer reports that his client only discussed his personal experiences with the media and did not intend to relay any particular information in his interviews.

Najafi was first tried with several other detainees in September. Najafi, Ali Bagheri, and Abbas Safari were sentenced to three years in jail and 74 lashes while Behzad Alibakhashi, Mohammad Yaghoobi, Yousef Shirilord, Neda Yousefi, Davoud Rahimi, Masoud Ajlo and Mohammad Torabi were sentenced to one year in jail and 74 lashes. The flogging sentences of the latter were suspended for five years.

Najafi was investigating the death of Vahid Heydari, a detainee who died while in custody during the protests of last December. The authorities announced that Heydari was a drug trafficker and committed suicide while in custody. Najafi reported however that according to his investigation Heydari was a street vendor and has no previous police records. Najafi also stated that the remains of Heydari which were buried under strict security measures showed clear signs of a serious head injury.

Najafi’s situation was followed up by Tehran MP Mahmoud Sadeghi who accused the police of slapping Najafi with false accusations stating that Najafi’ investigation has “proved” that the young man who died while in police custody in Arak was not a drug trafficker.