Twelve Years in Prison for Human Rights Activist and Banned Student
Following the trend of heavy prison terms for human rights activists and prisoners of conscience, Branch 26 of Tehran Revolutionary Courts, with Judge Pirabbasi presiding, sentenced Navid Khanjani, a student banned from continuing his education, to 12 years in prison and cash fines. Khanjani, who was deprived from continuing his education because of his civil activities, had previously been served with a ruling which banned him from traveling abroad. The human rights activist is only 24.
Announcing the news, the Society Against Educational Discrimination wrote that the four-page ruling was served to his lawyer, Shima Ghousheh, on Sunday, 30 January 2011. The ruling represents the most severe prison term doled out against any human rights activist prosecuted.
An informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that Navid Khanjani’s trial court, held on 20 December 2010, took about 2.5 hours. Though the court was announced open, Khanjani’s lawyer was the only person allowed to attend it, and none of the other attendants were allowed to enter the court sessions, while plainclothes forces were present inside the court. His charges were “propagating falsehoods,” “creating public anxiety,” and “propagating against the regime through publishing news and reports and interviewing with foreign TV and radios,” “membership in the Central Council of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters,” as well as “formation of a group for those banned from education.”
Navid Khanjani was arrested in Isfahan on 2 March 2010, and after spending 65 days in temporary detention inside the IRGC’s Ward 2-A at Evin Prison, he was released on 3 May 2010 on $100,000 bail. During his detention, the human rights activist was put under pressure to give interviews before a video camera, and he spent the first 25 days of his detention in a solitary cell.
The informed source told the Campaign that a sentence of 18 years, the maximum penalty for the waged charges, was initially recommended for the human rights activist–10 years for “formation of a roup for those banned from education,” and five years for “membership in the Committee of Human Rights Reporters. An additional three years were recommended for “propagating against the regime,” and “creating public anxiety.” The stiff sentence served by Branch 26 of Tehran Revolutionary Courts is said to have been issued with “Islamic mercy.” According to the said sources, during the trial proceedings, the defense presented by Mr. Khanjani’s lawyer was not considered at all.
Navid Khanjani’s lawyer will be presenting an appeal request to the courts during the coming days.