Farhad Navaei, a 16-year-old student who was arrested by security forces during anti-government protests in Mahabad, West Azerbaijan Province, in November last year, was released today from the Juvenile Detention Centre of Orumiyeh, West Azerbaijan Province.
Navaei, who was recently sentenced to two years in prison by the Criminal Court One of Mahabad, was released after about nine months in detention.
The court had charged the 16-year-old child with “assembly and collusion to commit crimes against national security”, but acquitted him of “enmity against God” (moharebeh), which carries the death penalty in Iran.
In July, the judiciary’s Mizan news agency published a report on the child’s conviction, saying: “After conducting investigations and examining the charges against the accused, the Mahabad Interrogation Branch has decided to try him on charges of ‘assembly and collusion to commit crimes against domestic and foreign security’ and ‘moharebeh’ for robbery, endangering public security, and blocking roads with weapons. After the public prosecutor agreed to investigate the charges, the case was referred to the Special Juvenile Criminal Court in Mahabad.”
According to the report, the Special Criminal Court for Juveniles in West Azerbaijan Province, based in Mahabad, acquitted the defendant of the charge of “enmity against God” (moharebeh), but sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment in a correctional centre on the charge of “assembly and collusion to commit crimes against domestic and foreign security”, with the days spent in detention also counting towards the sentence.
The news agency continued: “On 18 November of last year, police in Mahabad became suspicious of two teenagers riding a motorcycle. After examining the contents of their mobile phones, they found a video showing the two individuals blocking the Mahabad-Miandoab road by burning car tyres, demonstrating their strength with a stick, documenting their actions, and encouraging their friends to join the protests. The case was referred to the Mahabad Interrogation Branch for further investigation.”
Navaei, from the village of Torshakan in Mahabad, was denied access to a lawyer during his detention.
The Coordinating Council of Iran’s Educators’ Union had earlier issued a statement saying that the student had been forced to make false “confessions” while in custody.