Hamid Babaei

October 15, 2017



Hamid Babaei, a PhD student at the University of Liege in Belgium, was sentenced to six years in prison in December 2013 on charges of "acting against national security by communicating with hostile foreign governments and spying.”




Babaei was first detained by Tehrani authorities in August 2013 when he returned home for a short visit. Following his arrest, Babaei was held and interrogated without any legal representation for over a month at Tehran's Evin Prison. He was later appointed a lawyer by the court.

Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran conducted Babaei's trial, which lasted only 10 minutes and failed to comply with international fair trial standards. Babaei's charge evidently relates to his refusal to acquiesce to a request by Iran's Ministry of Intelligence to monitor and spy on Iranian students studying in Belgium. In retribution for this refusal, Babaei was accused of spying for Belgium, and the scholarship and funds he'd received from the University of Liege were used as "evidence."


Babaei suffers from chronic ear infections caused by a ruptured eardrum in his left ear for which he requires surgery. He also has a history of panic attacks, which have worsened under the stress of prison conditions. Despite these pressing needs, however, The Office of the Prosecutor, which is responsible for decisions concerning medical leave and hospital transfers, has denied Babaei's requests. It is understood that the Office has said that the requests have been blocked by the Ministry of Intelligence itself.


Despite having served more than half of his sentence, Babaei remains in prison. This violates Article 58 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, which allows the deciding judge to “issue the order of conditional release for convicts sentenced to more than ten years’ imprisonment after half the sentence is served, and in other cases after one-third of the sentence is served.”


Last Updated: Oct. 15, 2017

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