“Your Pens Should Be Broken” Journalist Jailed for Social Media Posts
Charged with national security crimes for his social media posts, journalist Masoud Kazemi has been sentenced to 4.5 years in prison, of which he must serve two years (subject to appeal), his lawyer announced on June 2, 2019.
During his trial, presiding Judge Mohammad Moghiseh told Kazemi, “you people have no right to breath; your hands should be crushed; you should be blown up with gunpowder poured into your mouth; your pens should be broken,” a source with detailed knowledge of Kazemi’s case told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 29, 2019.
Kazemi’s lawyer filed a complaint against Judge Moghiseh for his display of bias in Kazemi’s case but the former magazine editor has not been granted a case review.
“The revolutionary court sentenced my client to two years in prison for [the charges of] ‘publishing falsehoods,’ two years in prison for ‘insulting the supreme leader’ and another six months in prison for ‘insulting other officials,’” Kazemi’s attorney Ali Mojtahedzadeh told the state-funded Islamic Republic News Agency on June 2, 2019.
“In addition… the court banned my client from media activities for two years,” he added.
Under Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, Kazemi, the former editor-in-chief of the Sedaye Parsi (Persian Voice) political magazine, must serve no more than the maximum punishment for the charge that carries the heaviest sentence in cases involving multiple convictions—meaning to two years.
Kazemi, who has worked at major reformist newspapers in Iran including Ghanoon and Shargh, was arrested on November 6, 2018, for tweeting about alleged corruption at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade, and questioning President Hassan Rouhani’s presidential adviser Hesamoddin Ashena about the murders of Iranian dissidents in the late 1990s when Ashena was deputy intelligence minister.
He was released on bail five days later but was unable to return to his job, leaving his family in severe financial hardship.
Judge Moghiseh is known in Iran for sentencing peaceful detainees including journalists, activists, and dissidents to lengthy prison terms in politically sensitive cases.
According to testimonies cited by Justice for Iran, an organization that has documented the executions of thousands of political prisoners in Iran in the 1980s, Moghiseh also played a significant role in the torture and persecution of political prisoners in Gohardasht, Evin, and Ghezelhesar prisons during that time.