Iran’s Special Clerical Court in Tabriz, East Azerbaijan province, has sentenced Kurdish cleric Younes Nowkhah to a total of four years and six months in prison over a series of charges.

The clerical court has also stripped Nowkhah of his clerical status, permanently, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has learned.

According to the verdict issued by the court, which was communicated to the cleric on 15 January, he was sentenced to 36 months in prison over “insulting sanctities”, 15 months over “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran”, and seven months and 25 days for “propaganda against the sacred regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

The verdict also stated that the court has suspended six months of the 36-month prison sentence for four years, based on the Law on Reduction of Prison Sentences act 2020 of the Iranian Islamic Penal Code.

Iranian security forces detained Nowkhah, who is a teacher at the Salahuddin Ayubi School of Religious Studies in Piranshahr, West Azerbaijan province, on 7 July 2022.

They took the cleric to the detention facility of the Ministry of Intelligence in Orumiyeh, West Azerbaijan province, for interrogation.

On 23 July 2022, he was transferred to Orumiyeh Central Prison.

A group of Kurdish clerics gathered in front of the office of the Grand Islamic Centre of Piranshahr on 12 July, demanding his immediate release.

Nowkhah was released on bail from Orumiyeh Central Prison on 25 July 2022.