Political Prisoner With Suspended Sentence Remains Detained While Same Judge Reviews Case
Iran’s Supreme Court has suspended the 15-year prison sentence of ailing political prisoner Hadi Ghaemi and referred it to the Appeals Court, but the 67-year-old will not be released despite posting bail while the same judge who sentenced him reviews his case.
Ghaemi’s son Yousef Ghaemi told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that his father’s case has been referred to Branch 54 of the Appeals Court presided by Judge Hassan Babaee, who commuted his initial death sentence but sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment.
“Upon appeal my father’s death sentence was changed to 15 years in prison for a number of charges, including ‘assembly and collusion against national security,’” said Yousef Ghaemi. “Then Branch 41 of the Supreme Court agreed to suspend the sentence and asked Branch 54 of the Appeals Court to review it. But the problem is that Branch 54 has not agreed to free my father from prison before the review hearings begin in March , even though we have paid a 750 million toman ($234,000 USD) security deposit for my father’s medical furlough (temporary leave).”
Ghaemi added that his father is eligible for conditional release based on Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, which, in cases involving convictions on multiple charges, allows for only the longest sentence to be served.
“We pursued this matter for a long time and requested his release, but we were told that Article 134 does not apply to him. But the longest sentence he received for one of his charges was seven and a half years and my father has spent more than that in prison and deserves to go free,” he said.
Until May 2016 Hadi Ghaemi was imprisoned in exile at Gonbad-e-Kavous Prison, 234 miles northeast of his hometown, Tehran, but was transferred back to Tehran to receive medical treatment for a worsening prostate condition.
“Fortunately my father underwent surgery, but then he was returned to Evin Prison,” Yousef Ghaemi told the Campaign.
Hadi Ghaemi, a clothing manufacturer, was arrested at the home of a family friend in Tehran on December 26, 2009 at the peak of Iran’s nation-wide protests against the widely disputed result of the presidential election that year. Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to death for “waging war on God” for supporting the banned Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization (MEK or PMOI) before Judge Babaee changed the sentence to 15 years imprisonment in exile.