RFL/RE – Ahmad Zeidabadi, a prominent Iranian political activist, has been sentenced to a year of punitive imprisonment and 50 lashes in a case he says is linked to speeches he gave during the 2009 presidential election.
Zeidabadi, who has previously served time as a political prisoner, disclosed on his Telegram channel that the charges in the case heard in a court in the central city of Arak were “propaganda against the system” and “spreading lies with the intention of disturbing public opinion.”
He linked the court’s decision to speeches he delivered during the 2009 presidential election campaign in support of then-presidential candidate Mehdi Karrubi. It is the second time he has been incarcerated for the same offense.SEE ALSO:Jailed Iranian Wins Media Award
In 2009, Zeidabadi, who is also a journalist, was sentenced to six years in prison, five years of internal exile, and a lifetime ban from social and political activities for “propaganda against the system” and “conspiracy to disrupt national security.”
After completing his six-year prison term, he was exiled to Gonabad in the northeastern province of Khorasan in 2015.
Zeidabadi explained that the verdict was issued in absentia in 2010 due to his status declared as “unknown,” even though he was in prison. Unaware of the case, he did not request a retrial, leading to the confirmation of the sentence 14 years later.
He noted he had already served his punishment for the charge and therefore, this part of the sentence should be annulled due to the principle of “res judicata” or “the matter has already been judged.”
In recent months, Iranian authorities have escalated their crackdown on journalists.
In another case, Nilufar Hamedi, a journalist who has been incarcerated for the past 10 months, had another hearing on July 25.
Hamedi, a reporter for the Shargh newspaper, previously published an image of the grieving grandparents of Mahsa Amini, a young woman whose death after being detained by morality police in September 2022 sparked months of nationwide protests.SEE ALSO:The Farda Briefing: Journalists Who Broke Mahsa Amini Story Stand Trial Behind Closed Doors
Another court session was also scheduled on July 26 for Elaheh Mohammadi, a journalist for the Ham-Mihan newspaper. She was arrested following her reporting on Amini’s funeral procession.
Both journalists face charges including “collaborating with the adversarial U.S. government” and “conducting propaganda activities against the regime.”
They both denied the accusations during their initial court appearances.