Journalist and Human Rights Activist Sentenced to Four Years in Prison
Kaveh Ghasemi Kermanshahi, a journalist and human rights activist, has been sentenced by the Fourth Branch Appeals Court in Kermanshah, presided by Mohammad Ali Roshani, to four years in prison. The verdict was reduced from a five-year lower court sentence and was delivered to his lawyer on Wednesday, 16 March. Kermanshahi will serve his prison time in Dizelabad Prison in Kermanshah.
Kermanshahi was previously sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Moradi, Head of the Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Kermanshah, on charges of “acting against national security via membership in the Kurdistan Human Rights Organization,” and “propaganda against the regime through publication of news and reports, and conducting interviews with the media,” as well as contact with families of prisoners and political victims.
The initial and final rulings in the case were issued in rapid succession on 30 January and 16 March 2011, without a written or verbal (in person) ruling served to his lawyer, Mostafa Ahmadian. The rulings referenced articles 499 and 500 of the Islamic Penal Code.
Additionally, while Kermanshahi’s passport and personal documents were seized, according to the issued ruling all equipment taken during his arrest, including his laptop computer, hard drive, cellular phone, camera, and other items, were instruments and tools of the crime.
Previously, Mostafa Ahmadian expressed surprise about his client’s heavy sentence during an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “None of my client’s actions which were done with good faith and humanitarian goals represent ‘evidence of acting against national security’ and ‘propaganda against the regime,’ and what is listed in the indictment as ‘legal evidence’ is not sufficient for refuting the presumption of innocence in the case,” Ahmadian said.
Contrary to expectations and without regard for the presented defense, the Appeals Court merely reduced Kermanshahi’s sentence by one year despite objections to the lack of necessary documents for the conviction and the lack of a confession and acceptance of the charges on Kermanshahi’s part during all phases of the interrogation, investigation and trial.
Kaveh Ghasemi Kermanshahi was arrested on 3 February 2010 in Kermanshah and after spending nearly four months in “temporary detention” inside Kermanshah’s Intelligence Office Detention Center, he was released on 23 May 2010 on bail of $ 100,000. During this period, he was under pressure to confess to espionage and to take part in a video taped interview. He spent the first 80 days of his imprisonment in solitary confinement, and spent his last week on hunger strike.