February 25, 2021
Leila Hosseinzadeh, a student activist, has been sentenced to five years in prison and a two-year internet ban for wishing happy birthday to a fellow jailed student.
The sentence was handed down to Hosseinzadeh Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. Amir Raeisian, her lawyer, announced the news on his Twitter page, saying the Tehran University scholar had been convicted of “gathering and colluding with the intention to act against national security”.
Leila Hosseinzadeh had taken part in a small gathering of students to mark the birthday of Mohammad Sharifi Moghaddam, a Gonabadi dervish, student and journalist. He has been sentenced to a year behind bars in Greater Tehran Penitentiary for covering street protests involving dervishes in February 2018.
The students had brought a birthday cake for Moghaddam and held pictures of him aloft at the gathering. According to the lawyer, Hosseinzadeh had sung an anthem called “Judas Blood” at the birthday party. This was the example of anti-national security activity that was cited against her in court.
Leila Hosseinzadeh was also among the University of Tehran students who were arrested during protests in January 2017. She was released on bail after two weeks, but later sentenced to 30 months in prison and a two-year ban from leaving the country. She was summoned to Evin Prison to begin serving her sentence in July 2019 and then pardoned and released in February 2020.