Mohammad Tavasoli

Mohammad Tavasoli, an Iranian political activist and member of the Freedom Movement Party, has been sentenced to 11 years in jail and a five-year ban from political and media activities.

His lawyer told ISNA that the sentence was preliminary and he will appeal it to a higher court within 20 days.

Tavasoli is charged with “disturbing national security and propaganda activities against the Islamic Republic regime.”

The court has reportedly given Tavasoli the maximum sentence for the charges.

Tavasoli announced in September that he refused to deliver a defence against the charges on the grounds that the case against him and the court examining it are “illegal.”

“In view of my history of public service in the years prior to and after the revolution and my commitment to guarding the original principles and ideals of the Revolution and th national interest, I feel it is best that I do not defend against a case that has no legal basis and whose outcome has been previously determined,” Tavasoli reportedly told the court.

Tavasoli was arrested last November in connection with a letter written by several political activists and addressed to former president Mohammad Khatami, indicating that they saw no prospect for “free, healthy and fair elections” in Iran.

Tavasoli was Tehran’s first mayor after the 1979 Revolution in Iran. He was also arrested during the election protests of 2009 and held for two months.