A journalist and writer from Northern Khorasan was sentenced to 74 lashes for insulting the Judiciary Branch.

Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has been informed that Alireza Sepahi Laine, the well-known Kurdish journalist and poet from Northern Khorasan, has been sentenced to 74 lashes a few days ago by the branch one of the Kalat Penal Court on the charge of insulting the judiciary officials.

The above verdict was issued while he had been previously detained on Nov 30, 2017, for “Spreading lies and disturbing public opinion” for nine day and the final ruling of this case has not yet been issued.

After announcing the verdict to him, the author published a statement titled “Whipping, according to Rumi’s poem,” about the details of the case filed against him and completely denied accusations of insulting the Judiciary officials.

“Kalat court does not have a special branch for dealing with the press affairs, so the judges of this court are not specialised in this area. Judge N, who summoned me, was initially referring to another text when questioning me. I had to introduce myself a few times before he managed to find my file and it was apparent that he had not read it. When he saw the text, he asked me general question about it. I hope my statement is not taken as an insult to the judiciary but “how can a judge with no expertise in literature can make a judgement about me while even reading the literary text is difficult for him? The honourable judge was not able to read Rumi poem correctly and this poem played a key role in sentencing me to 74 lashes.”, he has written in part of his statement.

Sepahi published an article in the social media titled “Ignorance, more powerful than a flood”, which was not addressed to a particular person. The article was simply a protest to general public’s ignorance. But the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Kalat Revolution considered it as an instance of propaganda and disturbing the public’s opinion. He was released on bail from Vakil Abad prison in Mashhad on Saturday, December 09 on a bail of twenty million Tomans.

Alireza Sepahi Laine had been also previously arrested by security forces on July 30, 2011, on charges of cooperating with an opposition Kurdish party. He was detained in Mashhad Intelligence Detention centre and spent 7 months in Vakil Abad Prison before being released on bail.

In February 2013, he was sentenced by the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad (Branch 3) to 11 months imprisonment in addition to five years of deprivation of cultural activity and payment of fines. He filed an appeal in Branch 20 of the Court of Appeals (at Khorasan Province) which acquitted him of the charges in July 2013.

After being acquitted of the charges, the political prisoner addressed a touching letter to public opinion regarding his long wait for justice and the hurdles he had experienced while announcing that he had been acquitted of the charges.