2 Iran students get 16-year jail terms for 'sabotage'

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Apr 26 2022 08:35 PM

Two Iranian students have been sentenced to 16 years' jail on charges including sabotage and collaboration with outlawed anti-regime groups, judicial authorities in the Islamic republic announced Tuesday.

Local media named them as Ali Younessi and Amir-Hossein Moradi of Tehran's Sharif University of Technology, and said they had been under arrest since April 2020.

They received 10-year terms for "destruction of public installations", five years for plotting against national security and "cooperation with hostile groups", and another for propaganda against the Islamic republic, judiciary spokesman Zabihollah Khodayian told state television.

Benefiting from the concurrent running of sentences, they will serve only 10 years, "the heaviest sentence" which was imposed, Khodayian said.

In May 2020, the judiciary said the pair were accused of having been in contact with "counter-revolutionary groups", notably the banned and exiled People's Mujahedeen, which authorities have previously blamed for unrest in Iran.

Khodayian said they were also accused of "corruption on earth," which is generally punishable by death, "but the court found no proof".

Their lawyer, Mostafa Nili, said he would appeal against the "heavy" ruling.

"The two young men confessed after 50 days in isolation, without any telephone call and without the right of access to a lawyer," he wrote on Twitter.

In a separate trial, Khodayian said the producer of a popular television drama has been handed a 20-year prison sentence over a corruption case.

The court also ordered the confiscation of Mohammad Emami's assets and banned him from working in the public sector for "massive disruption of the economic system through money laundering", Khodayian said on state TV.

Emami produced the series "Shahrzad", about a love triangle set around the time of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, who was overthrown in a 1953 coup backed by the United States and Britain.

"Shahrzad" was a hit over three seasons between 2015 and 2018.

The judiciary's Mizan Online agency said the trial of Emami and 32 others began in August 2020. Authorities accused the producer of having "created a network of corruption" through Sarmayeh bank.