Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN): Mokhtar Zarei, a Kurdish Civil Rights activist, has been sentenced to three years of imprisonment on charges of “participation in protest gathering and conspiracy against national security” by the Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj. The sentence had previously been issued in absentia and it was approved by the court after the request for a trial with the accused’s presence.

“My client was sentenced to two years in prison by the branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj, on charges of insulting the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran in addition to to one year in prison for propaganda against the state”, Maziar Tameei, this activist’s lawyer has told KHRN.

“The verdict was issued based on the letter written by Mr. Mokhtar Zarei to the leader in March of 2018, in which he criticised the necessity of reforming methods and policies for the establishment of democracy.” the lawyer added.

Zarei and his lawyer have the right to appeal against this sentence within 24 days.

Mokhtar Zarei was sentenced to three years in prison by the judge ‘Behrooz Sharafi Yousofvand’, head of the Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj, on Jan 6, 2019, in absentia on charges of insulting the leadership and propaganda against the regime.

Upon contesting the verdict, the activist’s trial was held at Branch 2 of the Islamic Revolutionary court of Sanandaj in the presence of him and his lawyer on Apr 13, 2019.

The activist was summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office of Public and branch 2 of Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj on July 21 for criticising Iran’s Supreme Leader “Ali Khamenei” in a letter. He was transferred to Sanandaj Central Prison based on a temporary arrest warrant. He was released from Sanandaj Central Prison on bail after 17 days on August 8.

“A new charge has been filed against me for writing a letter addressed to the leader and criticising the regime.”, he announced in his telegram channel before his arrest. “I had said in my letter that we had witnessed many undemocratic actions, violations of human rights, and denials of freedoms during the past three decades under his ruling as the political leadership of Iran. Therefore, he should at least be responsible enough to provide an explanation,” added Zarei. “He might be able to convince people like me that the problem lies elsewhere but taking people to court and fabricating charges will not silence them.”

Zarei, a former member of the Democratic Kurdish Students Union, was first arrested during winter of 2010 at the second memorial ceremony of Ibrahim Lotfallahi in Sanandaj. He was released on bail 80 days later.

He was arrested again in March 2014 and sentenced to one year in prison for “propaganda against the state” through posting political comments on Facebook. He was released a month later on bail. However, he was later tried at Sanandaj Revolutionary Court for this charge and he was sentenced to six months of punitive imprisonment in addition to one-year of suspended imprisonment for the duration of five years.