Activist sentenced to two decades in jail

The following is the text of Amnesty International’s Urgent Action:

URGENT ACTION

Iranian activist Amir Amirgholi was sentenced in early 2016 to 19 years and six months in prison following an hour-long trial on charges that stem from his peaceful activism. He is held in Evin Prison in poor conditions and is awaiting the date of his appeal hearing.

Amir Amirgholi, a 33-year-old civil society activist whose legal name is Ali Amirgholi, has been sentenced to 19 years and six months in prison following an unfair trial before Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. The verdict was handed down in late January or early February 2016. He is now held in poor conditions in Section 8 of Tehran’s Evin Prison. The court sentenced Amir Amirgholi, following a hearing that lasted just over an hour, to seven years and six months in prison for “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security” and “disturbing the public order” without clarifying the exact punishment for each charge. It also imposed seven years and six months for “insulting Islamic sanctities and the Imams”, three years for “insulting Imam Khomeini and the

Supreme Leader” and 18 months for “spreading propaganda against the system”, including through images and materials on-line. Under Iranian law, if his sentence is upheld, he will be required to serve the lengthiest single prison term imposed on him that is seven years and six months, rather than the total sentence.

The charges stem from the peaceful exercise of Amir Amirgholi’s human rights, such as gathering outside the UN building in Tehran in solidarity with the besieged people of Kobani in Syria and participating in gatherings at a grave site known as Khavaran to commemorate people summarily executed and buried in unmarked mass graves in 1988. The court also used as evidence against him his association with political prisoners. Amir Amirgholi has appealed the verdict and his case has been referred to an appeal court.

Amir Amirgholi was arrested in December 2014 by officials from the Ministry of Intelligence in a street in Tehran. He was then held in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Tehran’s Evin Prison for 56 days without access to a lawyer or his family. He was first allowed to make a brief phone call to family members over a month after his arrest. In April 2016, he went on an 18-day hunger strike in protest at the authorities’ disregard for regulations governing the separation of different categories of prisoners. Amnesty International understands that, due to a partially functioning pancreas, he needs regular blood tests to monitor his blood sugar levels but has been denied the care he requires.