Former VP Hamid Baghaei Says His 63-Year Prison Sentence Was Issued by Judiciary Chief as “Revenge”
Former Iranian Vice President Hamid Baghaei has denounced his 63-year prison sentence, alleging it was issued in retaliation for his criticisms of Iran’s judiciary.
“I inform the dear nation of Iran that as a continuation of Judiciary Chief Mr. Sadegh Larijani’s blatant political and personal attacks, he has completed his wonderful work and sentenced me to 63 years in prison!” wrote Baghaei on his Telegram channel on December 20, 2017.
“Mr. Sadegh Larijani is taking revenge against me for exposing the 63 bank accounts he is using illegally, without any accountability, to pocket tens of billions of tomans in monthly interest from deposits made by the state treasury,” he added.
Baghaei, who served as former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Vice President for Executive Affairs from 2011-2013, remains a close adviser to Ahmadinejad, who served two terms from 2005-2013.
Ahmadinejad fell out of favor with Iran’s ruling elite during his second term for promoting his own version of Iranian nationalism and publicly criticizing powerful politicians.
Both men were disqualified by the Guardian Council from running as candidates in Iran’s May 2017 presidential election.
Subsequently, Iranian media were banned from reporting on Ahmadinejad, and in late November websites providing favorable coverage of Ahmadinejad-related news were blocked online.
Baghaei was arrested on corruption charges on July 9, 2017, and released on bail two weeks later. His trial was held behind closed doors at Branch 1057 of the Special Court for Government Employees on October 17 and October 22.
In a Telegram post published on December 20, the former vice president shared a copy of the judgment against him, which is based on eight counts, including alleged misuse of state funds and “insulting judiciary officials.”
“[Judiciary Chief] Mr. Sadegh Larijari has sentenced me to 63 years in prison based on numerous false charges without any legal evidence and in violation of the Constitution,” he wrote.
“The judge of all judges wants everyone to know that he has unlimited powers to confront anyone who questions his authority or his family’s affairs,” he added.