A group of volunteer relief workers who were arrested at an independent relief camp following last summer’s earthquake in northwest Azerbaijan have been handed jail sentences ranging from six months to two years.
The Kaleme website reported that 20 relief workers were sentenced in Tabriz Revolutionary Court.
A deadly earthquake in northwest Iran in August left hundreds dead and thosands homeless prompting volunteer relieft efforts by activists and ordinary citizens around the country.
The detained relief workers were arrested at an independent relief camp in Sarand when government security insisted on taking control of all relief efforts.
The detainees, who included many prominent civil activists, wrote an open letter to the head of the judiciary, condemning the security forces’ misrepresentation of their humanitarian efforts.
The court has found the relief workers guilty of “collaboration in assembly and collusion to commit crimes against national security.”
The judiciary had accused the relief workers of “trying to distribute expired food”, but the relief workers have stressed there is no evidence that any expired food had been in the camp and they have denied all the charges brought against them.