Two Elderly Dual Nationals Among Five Sentenced to Prison in Iran
Prisons Pose High Risks to Inmates Amid the Country’s Surging Covid-19 Pandemic
August 4, 2021 – Elderly dual national prisoners Mehran Raoof, 66, and Nahid Taghavi, 64, were among five prisoners held on trumped-up charges who were sentenced to jail in Iran today, August 4, 2021. The sentences come as Iran’s overcrowded prisons remain rife with risk, with new COVID-19 infections continuing to shatter records throughout the country.
“To condemn two peaceful, elderly people to prison under sham charges at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is raging throughout the country reveals the cruelty of the Iranian judicial system,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“These sentences indicate that the Iranian security establishment isn’t content with unlawfully harassing, jailing, and muzzling people, it also wants to endanger their lives,” he added.
Branch 27 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced Taghavi, a German citizen and women’s rights activist, and Mehran Raoof, a British citizen and labor rights activist, to 10 years in prison each under the charges of “participation in and managing a banned group” and eight months in prison for “propaganda against the state,” according to a tweet by their lawyer Mostafa Nili.
Nili noted that three other peaceful activists were sentenced to prison under the same charges: Somayeh Kargar and Bahareh Soleimani to six years and eight months in prison, and Nazanin Mohammadnejad to two years and eight months in prison.
Both Raoof and Taghavi have been detained in Tehran’s Evin prison since October 2020. Taghavi was taken to Evin, where she spent 194 days in solitary confinement and was interrogated 80 times for a total of 1,000 hours without legal counsel, accordingto her daughter Mariam Claren.
The sentences are preliminary and can be appealed.
At least 16 dual nationals are currently held in the country on manufactured charges.
The sentences add to growing concerns over a worsening of the rights situation in Iran since Ebrahim Raisi, who is a major human rights violator implicated in gross abuses over several decades, was elected as the country’s president in June 2021.