Journalist Sentenced to Six Years in Prison after Returning to Iran
Journalist, political activist, and close relative of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Serajeddin Mirdamadi has been sentenced to six years in prison by Judge Salavati of Section 15 of the Revolutionary Court on July 27, 2014, found guilty of “propaganda against the state” and “conspiracy against national security.”
Mirdamadi will likely appeal against the decision within the next 20 days, his lawyer Giti Pourfazel told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Mirdamadi has been held in solitary confinement in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ Ward 2-A at Evin Prison since May 10, 2014. According to the law, he is entitled to be released on bail until the final decision by the court of appeals. Pourfazel said she made several formal requests to Judge Salavati for her client’s release on bail, but was turned down without explanation.
A month earlier, Pourfazel told the Campaign that Mirdamadi’s case was being handled in a manner that was contrary to Iranian law. “I have explained many times that continuing Mr. Mirdamadi’s temporary detention is illegal. In his recent speech, [President] Rouhani noted that the Judiciary must be independent and non-partisan, but if the judicial officials disregard the law themselves, how can they expect the people to observe the law?”
Mirdamadi is not only a cousin of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, his father, Hossein Mirdamadi, is one of the most prominent religious figures of Khorasan Province. He was interrogated several times upon his return to Iran in the summer of 2013 and eventually arrested.
Before his journalism career, Mirdamadi was a member of the Central Council of Tahkim-e Vahdat, Iran’s most important student organization, and an Interior Ministry director in charge of elections from 1999-2002, during the reformist Mohammad Khatami’s presidency. After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election as president in 2009, Mirdamadi left for France, where he received a master’s degree in communications.
During his time abroad, Mirdamadi wrote political columns for the Amsterdam-based Radaio Zamaneh and gave guest interviews to BBC Persian service. He returned to Iran shortly after Rouhani’s election in June 2013.