Man Imprisoned on Nuclear Program Related Espionage Charges on Hunger Strike
Refusing food in Tehran’s Evin Prison since October 12, 2017, Alireza Golipour is in poor health, his lawyer informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“He’s on hunger strike because his legal situation is unclear,” said Golipour’s attorney Azita Gharehbeyglou, on October 27, 2017. “He has heart disease, liver problems and lots of other illnesses. The medical examiner has confirmed that he’s not fit to be in prison. He has been on hunger strike for 15 days.”
Golipour, 30, was an employee of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in Tehran when Intelligence Ministry agents arrested him in September 2012 and accused him of giving sensitive information to foreigners about Iran’s Natanz nuclear site.
In an interview with CHRI in May 2016, Gharehbeyglou said her client had admitted passing the information to US officials.
“My client has explicitly confessed to the charges in court. He was in contact with the American Embassy in the [United Arab] Emirates and transferred information about the Natanz nuclear plant as well as some information about officials of [former President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad’s government,” she said.
On May 16, 2016, Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Golipour to 39 years in prison and 173 lashes for the charges of “spying for foreigners,” “sympathizing” with the banned Mojahedin-e Khalgh (MEK) organization, “insulting the supreme leader,” “disturbing public order,” and “acting against national security.”
“Based on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, his prison term was reduced to 15 years, the length of his longest sentence. Because we didn’t appeal, my client’s sentence was reduced to 12 years,” Gharehbeyglou told CHRI.
Gharehbeyglou added that Golipour was previously handed a seven-year prison sentence for similar charges in 2010 by the Revolutionary Court in Yazd, southeastern Iran, which could increase his incarceration to 19 years.
“His two cases must be combined because they are for the same charges, but Judge [Abolghasem] Salavati refuses to act,” she said. “I went to the Supreme Court and after 11 days I was able to get an order to combine the cases. I took the ruling to Judge Salavati in May , but I don’t understand why he has not agreed to carry out the Supreme Court’s order.
“Every time I see Judge Salavati, he says it will be done and tells me to have patience. But nothing has been done. That’s why my client is on hunger strike,” she said. “No action has been taken on combining his sentences and our request for suspension of incarceration [on medical grounds] has gotten nowhere.”