TV Producer Jailed upon Return to Iran Now Faces Trial
Mostafa Azizi, a former Iranian television writer and producer, who has been in prison since February 1, 2015, will be put on trial on June 1, at Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Salavati. Azizi, a resident of Canada since 2008, returned to Iran in December 2014.
A source close to Azizi’s case told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the charges he faces are “insulting the Supreme Leader,” “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic,” and “assembly and collusion against national security,” although no evidence supporting these charges has been presented.
“He is an artist, not a political activist. He is an artist who wrote his analysis of the social and political situation in places like his Facebook page, but he did not intend to break the law or insult anyone,” said the source.
Mostafa Azizi wrote and produced popular Iranian TV series before moving to Canada with his family in 2008. The source told the Campaign that Azizi had returned to Iran to be close to his ailing father and to possibly write or produce new TV series.
“He was summoned by Evin Prison Courts. He appeared at the courts on April 1. I’m not sure what happened there, but he was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison. He spent 14 days in solitary confinement inside the IRGC’s Ward 2-A, and then he was transferred to a cell where there were four or five other prisoners. He is currently inside Evin Prison’s General Ward 8,” the source told the Campaign.
“If he thought he would face problems and that he could be arrested, he would not have returned to Iran at all. When Mr. [Hassan] Ghashghavi, Deputy Foreign Minister [in Consular and Parliamentary Affairs], said that all Iranians can return to Iran, he thought he, too, should return. News of his arrest was shocking,” added the source.
Dozens of Iranian expatriates who have traveled to Iran following assurances by President Rouhani regarding their safe passage, have been arrested, interrogated, prevented from leaving by having their passports confiscated, and, in many instances, imprisoned upon their return, due to the peaceful expression of views or lifestyles with which the government does not agree. This is in direct violation of Article 13(2) of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”