Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN): Masoud Shamsnejad, the human rights lawyer, has been sentenced to 6 years and 4 months in prison by Branch 3 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Orumiyeh on charges of propaganda against the state and acting against national security due to presenting a number of Kurdish political prisoners.

According to a report received by KHRN, the above verdict was served on this human rights lawyer on February 10. Masoud Shamsnejad was arrested at Orumiyeh Court by security agents when referring to the court to pursue a lawsuit of his client on Tuesday, January 08. He was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence Detention Centre in Orumiyeh and interrogated for 10 days before being transferred to Orumiyeh Central Prison on January 17. The hearing of Shamsnejad was held at the Branch 3 of Revolutionary Court of Orumiyeh on January 31 without the presence of a lawyer.

Prison authorities have so far denied the repeated requests of his lawyer to transfer him to the political prisoners’ ward.

The court sentenced him based on articles 499 and 500 of the Islamic Penal Code on charges of affiliation with the Kurdish political party of PJAK because he has represented a number of political prisoners such as Salah al-Din Ranjbar and Far Abadi in the context of his professional duties as a lawyer. Meanwhile, the law states that accepting the case of clients does not entail the membership of the concerned lawyer or his/her affiliation with the clients’ party.

He had been arrested earlier on May 9, 2013 on charges of membership in opposition parties. He was later released on June 12, 2013 on a bail of one billion Toman. The charges brought forward against Masood Shams Nejad included propaganda against the state through interviews with overseas Kurdish media, publishing false articles and news in addition to membership in the opposition groups. He was finally sentenced to 4 months of imprisonment on charge of propaganda against the state on May 18, 2013 but he was exonerated from the charge of membership in opposition groups.

Branch 10 of the Court of Appeal of West Azerbaijan Province approved the above-mentioned verdict in August 2013. Consequently, this Kurdish lawyer was transferred to Orumiyeh Central Prison on Oct 19, 2014.

In recent years, Massoud Shamsenjad has been banned from teaching at the Payam-e-Nour University of Orumiyeh due to his human rights activities and criminal record. He also nominated himself for Iran parliamentary elections in 2011 but he was disqualified due to allegedly supporting Kurdish parties. He also nominated himself for Orumiyeh city council elections in 2013 but his candidateship was rejected again. He was also a member of the Ahmad-Khani Cultural Institute of Orumiyeh, which was revoked under pressure from security institutions in 2013.