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Elderly Professor's Six-Year Jail Term Upheld

Updated: Mar 12, 2022

Hossein Rafiee, a retired university professor, has had his six-year prison sentence, which was imposed for his peaceful political activism, upheld by an appeal court. The authorities have rejected his request for compassionate leave to be with his sick wife, who is due to undergo surgery.

The court issued its decision after a brief hearing on January 24 at which Hossein Rafiee refused to appear in person because the authorities had revoked last minute a permit declaring Rafiee could attend the hearing in his own clothes instead of a prison uniform. He had been waiting for his hearing since June 2015 when he lodged an appeal against the decision of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, which convicted him of “membership of and involvement in an illegal and antinational security group (meaning the banned political group Sho’rayeh Melli-Mazhabi)” and “spreading propaganda against the system” by methods including giving interviews to media “who are against the state.”

Rafiee, 71, has been held in Section 8 of Tehran’s Evin Prison since his arrest in June 2015. The harsh conditions in that section, which is severely overcrowded, poorly ventilated, infested with insects, and does not have enough beds or toilets, endanger his health. He is not receiving regular medical care for various conditions, which include high blood pressure and a heart condition.

Please write immediately in English, Persian, Spanish, French, or your own language:

  • Calling on the Iranian authorities to release Hossein Rafiee immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience held solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and association;

  • Urging them to ensure he receives any medical attention he may require, expressing concern that the extremely poor conditions in Section 8 of Evin Prison amount to mistreatment and reminding them that prisoners must be held in conditions in line with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules);

  • Reminding them that Articles 19, 21, and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a state party, protect the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly.


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