RFL/RE – The son of a detained Iranian opposition leader has been sentenced to six months in jail on charges of distributing propaganda against the government, his family and Iranian state media said on March 13.
Iranian authorities pronounced Hossein Karrubi, the son of opposition leader and former speaker of parliament Mehdi Karrubi, guilty of publishing his father’s letter to Iranian President Hassan Rohani last year demanding an open trial after years of house arrest.
The younger Karrubi has 20 days to appeal the sentence, which was announced on March 12.
Mehdi Karrubi, 78, ran against Mahmud Ahmadinejad in the 2009 presidential election alongside Iran’s main opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, as reform candidates.
They charged that Ahmadinejad’s victory was fraudulent and urged people to protest in the streets, leading to demonstrations that rocked Iran for weeks.
To stem the protests, Iranian authorities cracked down on the reformers, putting both opposition leaders under house arrest in early 2011.
Judicial officials have called Mousavi and Karrubi “seditionists” and “traitors” and vowed to take legal action against them, but have never done so.
Rohani in his successful 2013 presidential campaign promised to lift the house arrest but has rarely addressed the issue in four years in office and both men remain under guard.
Hossein Karrubi’s jail sentence was for trying to further his father’s cause by e-mailing the senior Karrubi’s letter to his brother in London, who released it publicly. The letter pleads with Rohani to “ask the despotic regime to grant me a public trial.”
Rohani, who faces reelection in May, had promised to soften domestic restrictions. But his rule has faced pushback from hard-liners in parliament and the judiciary who have continued to launch crackdowns.
With reporting by AP and Reuters