15-Year-Old Illegally Held in Iranian Adult Prison After Pulling Down National Flag
Unnamed Boy Has Appealed His 15-Year Prison Sentence
A 15-year-old boy is illegally being held in an Iranian prison for adults, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.
The teenager, whose name has not been made public, was sentenced to five years in prison in Iran’s Hamadan Province for pulling down the country’s national flag during an anti-government protest in the city, according to a local member of Parliament (MP).
“I talked to a 15-year-old youngster who had brought down the Islamic Republic’s flag in one of the squares in Malayer [city],” said MP Mohammad Kazemi after visiting Central Prison in the province’s capital city of Hamadan, where the boy is being held, on February 18, 2018.
“A preliminary court has punished this person with a five-year prison sentence, which he has objected to, and the case has been sent to the Appeals Court,” added Kazemi, who is also the deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Legal and Judicial Affairs.
Iranian attorney Mohammad Moghimi told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 24, 2018, that according to articles 285 and 287 of Iran’s Criminal Procedure Regulations, juvenile suspects under the age of 18 should remain with their families until their trial or at a juvenile detention center.
“Of course, lighting the flag on fire is not the right thing to do but in the Islamic Republic we do not have any laws that consider pulling down the flag or insulting the flag a crime,” added Moghimi, who is also a children’s rights advocate. “We have to see exactly what crime this juvenile has been charged with.”
The lawmaker who visited Central Prison said the teenager was one of 40 people still in detention at the prison for allegedly participating in protests that broke out in the city and in various other cities in Iran between late December and early January 2018.
Kazemi said the detainees had been granted bail but couldn’t afford it and had requested a reduction in the amount.
According to information obtained by CHRI in early February 2018, some protesters arrested in Hamadan and Khuzestan provinces are facing charges that are punishable by death.
“Some of them have been investigated, interrogated and charged with ‘rebellion,’” said a legal source in the city of Izeh, Khuzestan Province, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for security reasons, on February 4.
“The families of the freed detainees have been threatened a lot and are too afraid to talk,” added the source. “Most of them say that they are being slapped with serious charges and if they do anything wrong, they could be given heavy sentences.”