Heshmatollah Tabarzadi

Iranian Activist Tabarzadi Handed New Sentence After Closed-Door Trial

November 15, 2023
1 min read

Iranian political activist Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, who has already been sentenced to more than 45 years on charges including “collaboration with a hostile government” and “waging war against God,” has been sentenced once again, this time to four years and three months on charges of “propaganda against the system” and “conspiracy to disrupt internal and external security.”

Tabarzadi, who has been in custody for some 400 days, said in a letter obtained by RFE/RL’s Radio Farda that the new sentence was handed down by Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court, which was presided over by Judge Iman Afshari, in a closed session.

In the letter, Tabarzadi described enduring extensive pressure during his detention, which came shortly after nationwide protests broke out over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while she was in police custody for an alleged hijab offense. The unrest has led to renewed pressure on political activists.

Tabarzadi, a journalist who is also the head of the banned Democratic Front of Iran, said that the night before his trial, he was moved from Isfahan prison to solitary confinement in a detention center in Tehran under heavy security.

Tabarzadi said he did not defend himself at the court hearing because “according to the law and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the trial must be public, independent, and held in the presence of a jury and lawyer.”

His daughter, Tima Tabarzadi, told Radio Farda that her father, as previously, did not accept any of the new charges.

“My father does not have the option to choose a lawyer. A court-appointed lawyer has been selected for him, and we have no contact with him,” she added, noting that since her father does not recognize the court, he will not appeal the verdict.

“His lawyer, Mohammad Moqimi, is currently outside Iran, and if he were in Iran, they would not allow him access to the case anyway,” Tima Tabarzadi said.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL’s Radio Farda

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