Six-Year Prison Sentences for Omid Montazeri and Hengameh Shahidi
Only a few days after being re-arrested, it was announced that Hengameh Shahidi’s six-year prison sentence has been upheld in an appeals court and she must prepare for serving her sentence. Sources close to Shahidi’s case told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that there is no evidence of crime in her file and that her sentence does not have a reasonable relation to what is in her file.
An informed source told the Campaign: “Her family and her attorney are in shock about how her six-year prison sentence has been upheld, as no fair judge can issue such a heavy sentence for someone who has not committed a crime. This sentence is completely politically motivated and there is no other justification for it.”
Judge Salavati, who has issued several imprisonment and execution sentences over the past few months, has also announced Omid Montazeri’s sentence as six years in prison. Montazeri is one of the many people arrested on Ashura (27 December 2009).
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran is concerned about heavy sentences that do not bear any reasonable relation to the charges and that lack supporting evidence for the accusations. This concern also spans case reviews of post-election political arrests, a main being that only one judge, Judge Salavati, has had the responsibility of reviewing tens of cases and has ruled for tens of years imprisonment and handed down the death penalty in the cases of those arrested after the elections.
Hengameh Shahidi’s charges are propagation against the regime, mutiny, congregation, membership in an organization that has acted against national security, and insulting the president. Shahidi was arrested on 30 June 2009 and was released after 50 days in prison on a bail of $90,000 on 31 October 2009. She was arrested again on 25 February 2010, after she was summoned to the Ministry of Information’s Investigation Office. The court’s ruling was announced to Mohammad Mostafaee, Shahidi’s attorney, yesterday. The appeals court has only reduced the charge of “insulting the president” in Shahidi’s case. The ruling was issued by Branch 54 of Revolutionary Courts.
Shahidi was active in Mehdi Karroubi’s campaign during the presidential elections. She went on hunger strike on 24 October 2009 to protest her unclear situation in prison after weeks of detention. She was released a week later on bail of $90,000.
Omid Montazeri had his first visit with his family after his 28 December 2009 arrest. Iran’s Ministry of Information is responsible for his arrest and interrogation and he is currently in ward 209 of Evin prison. He was arrested after he went to the Ministry of Information’s Investigation Office to ask about his mother, Mahin Fahimi, who had been arrested the night before. He received a six-year prison term even though he is not a member of any political group. Montazeri is a journalist who writes commentaries in several newspapers. His area of journalism is philosophy and thought. Montazeri’s father was among many political prisoners who were mass executed at Evin prison in the late 1980’s. Islamic Republic’s authorities are highly sensitive to any actions by family members of those executed. Montazeri’s mother was released after 45 days in prison.