By Jubin Katiraie

Reports indicate that the appeals court in Tehran sentenced two detainees and seven activists to a total of 45 years in prison on December 2 for their involvement in the Haft Tapeh Sugar Company protests.

The sentences were handed to the attorneys of the nine civil and labour activists on December 14 and it was determined that Judge Ahmad Zargar from Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeal had sentenced them to five years each in prison.

The nine were:

  • Atefeh Rangriz (detained)
  • Marzieh Amiri (detained)
  • Esmaeil Bakhshi
  • Mohammad Khaniifar
  • Sepideh Gholian
  • Amir Amirgholi
  • Amir Hossein Mohammadi Farad
  • Sanaz Elhayari
  • Asal Mohammadi

Another defendant in the case, Ali Nejati, was sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Mohammad Moghiseh, on charges of “gathering and colluding to act against national security through spreading propaganda against the system”.

In September, Moghiseh had sentenced Rangriz to 11.5 years imprisonment and 74 lashes, and Amiri to 10.5 years imprisonment and 148 lashes.

He also sentenced Gholian, Amirgholi, Farad, Elhayari, and Mohammadi to seven years in prison each for “gathering and colluding against national security”. They were all sentenced to another one year and six months in prison for being members of the GAM (Step) online magazine and “spreading propaganda against the system”.

While Bakhshi was sentenced to seven years in prison for “gathering and colluding against national security”, two years in prison for “insulting leadership”, and two years for “publishing lies”. He was further sentenced to one year and six months in prison for “spreading propaganda against the system” and one year and six months in prison along with 74 lashes for “disturbing public order”.

Another defendant in the case, Mohammad Khannifar, was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of “gathering and colluding against national security” and one year in prison on charges of “propaganda against the system”.

It is important to note that the Iranian authorities levies national security charges against political activists and protesters all the time because they see any and all opposition as a major threat to them.

The Iranian government made a massive change to its legal system last year by forcing anyone charged with a national security offence to choose a defence lawyer approved by the authorities, which means that these lawyers may be working for the state. At best, the limited number of approved lawyers (20) means that there aren’t enough to go around all of the defendants so many are without representation.

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