Journalist and student activist, Payman Aref, has been sentenced to 1 year in prison and 74 lashes.
RAHANA – The 26th branch of the Revolutioanry Court issued its judgment for Payman Aref, a journalist and rights activist who was arrested shortly after the June presidential election.
According to RAHANA, Aref was tried on February 23 by judge Pirabassi at the 26th branch of the Revolutionary Court. Aref who was represented by Messers Dadkhah, Oliyayifar and Faghihi during the hearing, was tried on 2 counts of membership in an anti Islamic Republic group and propaganda activities against the system (based on his membership in the National Front of Iran) and one count of insulting the president (based on an open letter he had written to Ahmadinejad on May 26, 2009).
On Tuesday March 2, Aref was brought from Evin prison to court where his verdict was communicated to him. The court acquitted Aref on one count of membership in an anti regime group but found him guilty of two other charges. He has been sentenced to one year in prison for anti-regime propaganda activities and 74 lashes for insulting the president.
Furthermore, because of his prior conviction and his contempt for authorities, the court decided the above mentioned punishments were not sufficient and based on article 19 of the Islamic Penal Law, sentenced Aref to a lifetime ban from journalism and any membership in political parties.
Aref was arrested on June 18, 2009 to serve a 1 ½ year prior prison sentence given to him on 2005 by judge Haddad-who was the head of the 26th branch of the Revolutionary Court at the time-for a speech he gave in 2002 at Tehran University in support of Dr. Aghajari.