Three Activists Sentenced to Prison in Trial “Directed” by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry

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Political prisoners Majid Assadi, Payam Shakiba, and Mohammad Banazadeh were sentenced to prison and exile after the Intelligence Ministry pressured the court, a family member of one of the prisoners told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“The lawyers defended their clients in court but the judge found them guilty in the presence of the Intelligence Ministry representative who practically directed the court proceedings,” said the source, who requested anonymity for security reasons.

In a ruling issued on November 27, 2017, Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh of Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Banazadeh to 11 years in Evin Prison and two years in exile in the city of Nikshahr, Sistan and Baluchistan Province. Assadi was given a six-year sentence in Evin Prison and two years in exile in Borazjan, Bushehr Province. Shakiba was sentenced to six years in Evin Prison.

The three men were charged with “propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion against national security” based on claims made by the Intelligence Ministry, the source told CHRI.

“This is a preliminary sentence,” said the source. “The sentences will not stand if the Appeals Court makes a fair judgment because the case is only based on accusations by a representative of the Intelligence Ministry without any evidence and the accused all denied the charges during their interrogation.”

The men were arrested by Intelligence Ministry agents in March 2017 and held in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin Prison for about two months before being transferred to Rajaee Shahr Prison, located 31 miles west of the capital.

Assadi, 35, was first arrested on July 3, 2008, for his peaceful political activities while he was a student at Allameh Tabatabaie University in Tehran. In March 2010, he was sentenced to four years in prison for “assembly and collusion against national security” and was released after serving his sentence from October 2011 to June 2015.

Shakiba, 30, was previously arrested on July 8, 2008, for exposing sexual misconduct against a female student by a senior administrator at the Zanjan University campus, where he was a student at the time.

In March 2010, Shakiba was condemned to a year in prison for “causing public anxiety” and “instigating illegal gatherings against national security” and barred from returning to university for two semesters. Upon appeal, his sentence was reduced to six months in prison, which he served from November 2010 to March 2011.

A veteran political activist, Banazadeh, 63, was arrested by the Intelligence Ministry on November 30, 2009, for his alleged involvement with the banned Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization (MEK). He was freed in November 2014 after serving a five-year sentence.

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