A court of appeals in Tehran upholds the 4.5 years prison sentence of Iranian journalist, Masoud Kazemi.

Masoud Kazemi

Judge Mohammad Moghiseh of Branch 28 of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court had sentenced Kazemi to 4.5 years in prison on several charges including insulting the supreme leader of the country, ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Kazemi was sentenced to two years in prison for the charge of “spreading lies,” another two years for insulting the supreme leader” and six months for insulting other Iranian officials.

The sentence was confirmed by the appeal court on the same day that Iran is celebrating “Journalist’s day”.

According to Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, in case of offenses punishable by ta’zir where the offenses committed are not more than three, the court shall impose the maximum punishment provided for each offense. Ta’zir is one of three forms of punishment designated by Sharia law in which the judge decides the punishment based on and most political prisoners in Iran end up receiving punishments of ta’zir,

MasoudKazemi was first arrested in November 2018 after writing about corruption in Iran’s Ministry of Industries and Mines. He was released on bail but was arrested again on May 2019 on several charges including national security charges.

Iran has arrested hundreds of journalists in the last four decades. Currently, dozens of journalists and writers are serving sentences in prison on various charges including propaganda against the government, spreading lies, waging war against God and acting against national security.

Other Iranian journalists have also been arrested awaiting trial or sentenced to prison in recent years, including MarziehAmiri, Hamed Aynehvand, Hengameh Shahidi, Kiumars Marzban, Pouyan Khoshhal, Reza Golpour, and Mohammad Hossein Rostami.

Iran ranks 70th on Reporters without Borders 2019 World Press Freedom Index.  RSF, the Paris-based media watchdog calls Iran “one of the world’s five biggest prisons for journalists.