The Branch Nine of Iran’s Supreme Court has acquitted Kurdish political prisoner Towhid Darvish of “enmity against God”, overturning the ruling of the lower court and referring the case back to the court for investigation.

In early January, the Branch One of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tabriz, East Azerbaijan province, sentenced Darvish to 10 years of imprisonment in exile in Ahvaz prison and payment of 5 billion Tomans – nearly 125,000 USD – in damages to a bank.

It charged the civilian with “enmity against God” (moharebeh), a charge that carries the death penalty in Iran.

Darvish, a 27-year-old taxi driver, was arrested in Tabriz on 29 September after he had transported passengers in his car from the city of Khoy to the city of Tabriz, which was gripped by anti-government protests at the time.

He has been denied the right to have an independent lawyer of his choice and family visits, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has learned.

Last week, lawyer Masoud Shamsnezhad said that the Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tabriz had refused his request to represent Mr Darvish.

Darvish is a father of two and comes from the village of Garnavik in Khoy, West Azerbaijan province. Following an earthquake in March 2020, his family settled in the city of Khoy after their village home was destroyed in the quake.