The central prison in the city of Urmia, northwest of Iran. (ISNA)

February 19, 2021

The Supreme Court has upheld a long prison sentence handed down to a student in Urmia, though it threw out a verdict that he should face the death penalty.

Revolutionary Court judges in Urmia handed down a prison sentence of 14 years and one month to Hamed Ghara Oghlani, a student at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University, in December 2020. A third judge sentenced him to death.

The Supreme Court upheld the verdict of the first two judges over the third, and so, according to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, Hamed Ghara Oghlani will be spared his life but serve a lengthy prison sentence. The court upheld 13 years of the original sentence.

The judiciary charged him with “insulting the leader,” “propaganda against the regime,” and “membership to opposition groups,” namely the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization, also known as the People’s Mojahedin Organization (MEK). He was also charged with having “relations with Israel.”

Hamed Ghara Oghlani has repeatedly and vehemently denied the allegations.

In January 2021, the political prisoner published an open letter to the head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raeesi, describing the verdicts against him as the result of “shameless case-building” carried out by the Islamic Republic’s security agencies.

“Mr. Raeesi! I have only one request for you,” he wrote. “If you are faithful to your slogans, end the hell that the security agencies have created for me and my family.”

Hamed Ghara Oghlani was arrested by Urmia Intelligence Office agents on Saturday, July 27, 2020, and was transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence’s holding office.

The student has epilepsy and has been denied regular access to his medication. He also contracted coronavirus in prison in September 2020.

Iran Wire

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.