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Wednesday, 25 November, 2020

Afsaneh Khakpour, Civil activist sentenced to 18 years in prison

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Human Rights in Iran – Monday, August 3, 2020, Branch 1 of the Kerman Revolutionary Court, presided over by judge Ahmad Ghorbani, sentenced Shahin “Afsaneh” Khakpour, a female civil activist residing in this city to a total of 18 years in prison.

According to Human Rights in Iran, over the past few days, Shahin “Afsaneh” Khakpour, a female civil activist living in Kerman (southeast of Iran), was sentenced by branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of this city, chaired by judge Ahmad Ghorbani, to a total of 18 years in prison on charges of acting against national security by forming and joining opposition groups, propaganda activities against the regime in favor of dissident groups, insulting Ruhollah Khomeini (the founder of Islamic Republic of Iran), and insulting the leadership (Ali Khamenei). If this sentence is upheld in Court of Appeals and Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code is applied, this civil activist will be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

According to the indictment issued by the Revolutionary Court of Kerman, Shahin “Afsaneh” Khakpour was sentenced to 10 years in prison for acting against national security by forming and joining opposition groups, 1 year in prison for propaganda activities against the regime in favor of dissident groups, 1 year for insulting the leadership (Ali Khamenei), 1 year in prison for insulting Ruhollah Khomeini (the founder of Islamic Republic of Iran), and to 5 years in prison on charges of membership in anti-regime groups.

In a conversation with the reporter of Human Rights in Iran, a well-informed source said: “After the announcement of the verdict, Shahin (Afsaneh) Khakpour is trying to prepare a defense for an appeal and will protest against the verdict in due diligence term.”

Shahin Khakpour was arrested by IRGC intelligence agents in Kerman on May 28, 2019, and was transferred to the detention center of this security organ in Shiraz Province for interrogation and being informed of her accusations. After intensive interrogations and enduring more than 2 months of uncertainty in custody, she was released on bail pending trial.

Shahin Khakpour had previously been arrested in Kerman on May 28, 2019 for protesting against the compulsory hijab (veiling) and livelihood conditions, and was transferred to the Shiraz detention center. The civil activist was temporarily released from custody after a period of interrogation, until the end of the trial.

This civil activist had previously been arrested twice by security forces in Kerman in 2017 and had been interrogated and charged.

Arresting people without informing them of their charges at the time of arrest and impossibility of access to a lawyer for the accused are among the violations of international human rights instruments, Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted on December 16,1966.

Also enjoying the right to a fair trial by an impartial tribunal in the presence of a jury and by preserving the right of the accused to appoint his or her lawyer in a trial, is one of the issues accentuated in International Instrument of Human Rights, including Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 14 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), adopted on December 16, 1966.

In most cases, the extrajudicial and arbitrary detention of citizens and civil activists with vague and trumped-up accusations is in the line of suppression of Freedom of Expression and opinion, which in International Instrument of Human Rights, in Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as in Article 19 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted on December 16th 1966, there is emphasis on not suppressing of the individuals because of Freedom of Expression and opinion. Regarding the principle of freedom of expression, every individual has the right to express his/her opinions and viewpoints in any way possible, without considering border restrictions.

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