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Thursday, October 23, 2014 12:19

Iranian activist gets 20-year jail term

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Sohrab Razzaghi

Sohrab Razzaghi, an Iranian activist and a former professor at Allmaeh Tabatabai University, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison and a fine of 550 thousand euros.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reports that the sentence was issued by Judge Salavati in Tehran, even though Razzaghi currently lives in the Netherlands.

Razzaghi denounced the sentence, saying he had denied all of the charges against him throughout the interrogations, and the prosecution did not present a single shred of evidence to prove him wrong.

Razzaghi was charged with “establishing a group aimed at toppling the regime and acting against national security, providing confidential information to outsiders and receiving money from international organizations.”

Razzaghi, currently residing in the Netherlands, said that since he has not reported to Evin Prison to serve out his sentence, the government will confiscate the $200,000 bail he put up for his release. He added that the 550,000-euro fine stipulated in the sentence amounts to all of the the money that the Koneshgaran Davtalab (volunteer activists) Organization had received in the five years of its existence from various organizations, such as United Nations agencies in Iran and international organizations such as Hivos and Internews.

Razzaghi added that all of his organization's expenses and account documents were freely disclosed to the court, and all of the funds it received from international sources were approved by the government.

Razzaghi’s organization was shut down five years ago. When President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took power, many non-governmental organizations in Iran were shut down or restricted.

The Volunteer Activists Organization, a non-profit NGO, was engaged in education, training and research aimed at promoting civil society.

Razzaghi was arrested in September of 2007 and was released on bail after one month.