Two Death Sentences Overturned: Reza Khademi, 12 Years, and Ayoub Porkar 20 Years
Nasrin Sotoudeh, lawyer for two prisoners, Ayoub Porkar and Reza Khademi, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the initial court’s death sentences for her clients has been overturned, and that the two prisoners were sentenced to long prison terms instead. Porkar and Khademi had been sentenced to death by Branches 15 and 26 of Iran’s Revolutionary Courts, but Branch 36 of the Appeals Court overturned the initial court’s sentences and instead sentenced Reza Khademi to 12 years and Ayoub Porkar to 20 years in prison.
Sotoudeh told the Campaign that even though a long time has passed since the court ruling was issued, and despite her repeated requests to be served with the ruling, she has not been formally informed about the court’s decision and this is against the law. Nevertheless, when families of the two prisoners went to Branch 36 of Appeals Court, they were informed that the earlier sentences had been overturned and replaced with prison terms.
Ayoub Porkar, who served as a pilot for four years during the Iran-Iraq war, later leaving the Army, was accused of relations with the Mujahedin-e Khalgh Organization (MKO). Earlier, Sotoudeh told news media that the basis for the charges was her client’s tapped phone conversations and personal emails. She said that in the five-page court ruling document issued for her client, more than anything else there were references to his opinions as opposed to defining any crimes he committed. According to Sotoudeh, not only did her client not have any relations with the MKO, he did not do anything to deserve the moharebeh (enmity against God) ruling. Sotoudeh expressed hope that with a fair and legal judicial review of cases such as these, death sentences would be overturned.
Another lawyer told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the death sentence of Nasser Abdolhosseini has also been overturned and he has been sentenced to 12 years in prison instead.
This lawyer told the Campaign that he hopes other death sentences are overturned in the coming weeks. Other individuals who have received death sentences and whose cases are currently under review in appeals courts include Mohammad Valian. He said that even if the death sentences are upheld at the appeals stage, he hopes that the Judiciary would take the country’s current state under consideration and investigate death sentence cases more carefully and avoid executions.