RFL/RE – An Iranian-American dual citizen who has been jailed in Iran since July has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after being convicted of collaborating with the United States and “insulting sanctities,” one of his U.S.-based relatives told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda.
The relative, who did not want to be named because of security issues, expressed “shock” over the heavy prison sentence handed down to Robin Shahini, 46.
“There is no evidence [to back the charges] except for a few Facebook and blog posts,” she said, adding that the family will appeal against the sentence.
Shahini, a San Diego-based graduate student, was detained by security forces while visiting his mother in northern Iran.
He is the latest dual national sentenced to prison in the Islamic republic in what is believed to be a power struggle between the government of the self-proclaimed moderate President Hassan Rohani and staunch conservatives who oppose any opening of the country following last year’s deal with the international community on restricting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Last week Iranian authorities announced that several individuals, including at least two Iranian-Americans, Siamak and Baquer Namazi, had been sentenced to 10 years in prison each for “collaborating with a hostile government.”