Political Activist Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison
(7 August 2008) Abbas Khorsandi, a political activist, has been sentenced to eight years in prison by an appeals court, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. The only evidence in his prosecution is apparently based on his political beliefs and internet writings.
Branch 36 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court confirmed Khorsandi’s sentence on 12 July 2008. The appeals court decision was issued by Judges Salimi and Zargar. Khorsandi is currently held in Evin Prison.“Given Khorsandi’s activities, there is no justification for his lengthy imprisonment. The Judiciary must be held accountable as to why Khorsandi is being locked up for eight years,” the Campaign stated.
According to information received by the Campaign, Khorsandi’s activities involved only expressing his peaceful opinions on the internet and his sentencing is not justified under any circumstance.
Plainclothes intelligence agents detained Khorsandi at his shop in Firoozkooh, a town outside Tehran, on 9 September 2007. On the same day, intelligence agents raided and searched his home but could not find any incriminating evidence to confiscate.
He was held in incommunicado detention for three months in Evin prison. The authorities subsequently charged him with “acting against national security through formation of an illegal association.” Khorsandi founded the Iran Democratic Party, whose activities were limited to publishing internet writings and involved only five other people who communicated their political views.
He was put on trial on 4 March 2007 at Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. The presiding Judge Salavati announced an eight- year prison sentence on 17 March 2007.
According to his associates, he is in ill health. The Campaign called on the Iranian Judiciary to hold a public trial adhering to international standards of due process, in which a fair assessment of Khorsandi’s guilt or innocence could obtain.