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UPDATE AUGUST 25 2016-- A British woman initially sentenced to 20 years and later reduced to 7 years in prison in Iran for posting an anti-government comment on Facebook. Roya Saberinejad Nobakht, 49, is a British-Iranian citizen who has been in prison in Iran since October 2013. She has been subjected to physical and psychological torture.

The Tehran Revolutionary Court, in another illegal action, sentenced 8 men and women, active on Facebook to more than 123 years of imprisonment.

Since the authorities have been unable to have any influence on society in trying to ban Facebook, with this action, they seem to be trying to create panic among social network users, and are using this to create and influence an atmosphere of oppression in cyber-space.

According to the opposition site Kaleme, these people who were arrested last year and were interrogated at the IRGC Ward 2-A in Evin prison, were tried and sentenced collectively to more than 123 years of imprisonment in Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Moghayeseh,.

The sentences issued by lower court are as follows:

1- Roya Saberinejad Nobakht; 20 years of imprisonment

2- Masoud Ghasem Khani; 19 years and 91 days of imprisonment

3- Fariborz Kardarfar; 18 years and 91 days of imprisonment

4- Sayd Masoud Sayed Talebi; 15 years and one day of imprisonment

5- Amin (Farid) Akramipour; 13 years of imprisonment

6- Naghmeh Shahi Savandi Shirazi; 7 years and 91 days of imprisonment

These 8 people were charged with assembly and collusion against the national security, insulting the Supreme Leader, insulting the authorities, propaganda against the regime, blasphemy, and spreading lies and disturbing the public’s peace.

The Revolutionary Court, based on Article 134 of the new Islamic Republic’s Penal Code has issued these sentences, giving them more than half of the maximum penalty. But, according to this same Article, only the sentence for the charge with the highest maximum penalty is enforceable. In this case, that would be the charge of assembly and collusion against the national security, which carries 7 1/2 years of imprisonment.

While the issue of free access to the Internet has become one of the main challenges between the hardliner Judiciary and the administration of Hassan Rouhani and considering the inability of the hardliners to influence the cyber space activities of the people, they have resorted to giving these heavy sentences to make an example and to create an atmosphere of fear in order to stop the people from online activities.

Kaleme had previously reported regarding the IRGC’s scenario and arresting of cyber activists in the summer and fall of 2013. Those people were arrested in Tehran, Shiraz and Sari. They were all held at IRGC’s Ward 2-A in Evin prison where they were interrogated and tortured. Currently they are being held in Evin prison and Gharchak prison for women in Varamin.

Despite the fact that the IRGC interrogators have charged these 8 people with various false charges, that the Court used to convict them, Kaleme’s reporter investigations showed that activities of these 8 people were limited to criticism of the ruling establishment’s policies, poems and songs of protest, spreading the news of the events of post-2009 presidential election and political-social satires.

These activists, under pressure by the interrogators and with false promises of leniency, gave false confessions on national TV, apologizing for their actions, voicing regret for their Facebook activities, and warned about the ill effects of these social networking sites.
Source (in Farsi): Kaleme http://www.kaleme.com/1393/03/05/klm-185771/

Translation by Persian Banoo: http://persianbanoo.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/unprecedented-123-years-of-imprisonment-for-8-people-active-on-facebook-in-iran/

A student visiting family in Iran has been locked up for five months after writing on Facebook that the country 'was too Islamic' during a family trip.

Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, from Stockport, was arrested as she stepped off a plane in the provincial city of Shiraz and accused of being a spy, said her husband Daryoush Taghipoor.

Daryoush said his 47-year-old wife has been detained at Evin, a prison in the capital Tehran, on suspicion of plotting to commit crimes against security and insulting Islam.

He claims her arrest was over comments she made on an internet chat forum and to friends on Facebook about the Iranian government being too controlling and ‘too Islamic’.

Part-time chef Daryoush and Roya, an English student at Stockport College, have lived in Heald Green for six years and are naturalized British citizens.

Daryoush, 47, said his wife had done nothing wrong and feared for her life.

Speaking from Iran, he added: 'It’s a very bad situation. We don’t know what’s going on.

'Roya is not well at all. She has lost three stone and is frightened. She is scared that the government will kill her.'

Roya travelled to Tehran to see family last October.

About two weeks into the trip, she flew to Shiraz to visit a friend and was arrested at the airport.

It is understood she is being remanded in Evin prison while she awaits a trial.

Family friend Nasser Homayoun-Fekri, from Offerton, has written to his MP Andrew Stunell, asking him to put pressure on our government to intervene.

Mr Fekri said: 'Roya is not a political activist in any way. She is just a normal citizen.

'The authorities don’t clarify why she has been arrested and Daryoush insists the charges are based on a confession extracted from Roya under duress.

'The government needs to do all that is feasible to get the release of this innocent British citizen.'

The British Embassy in Tehran is closed but Ajay Sharma, head of the Iran department at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), is acting as a diplomat between the two countries.

Mr Stunell, Hazel Grove MP, said: 'I am concerned about this arbitrary arrest and am urgently asking the FCO to make inquiries.'

WHEREAS: Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, a British citizen of Iranian origin, has been sentenced to an outrageously harsh twenty-year prison sentence for peacefully expressing her views on Facebook, and had furthermore been arbitrarily detained for several months in a manner clearly not meeting the standards of international legal norms;

AND WHEREAS: The charges of "espionage" and "endangering national security" are based solely on her peaceful expression of critical views vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic regime in Iran through her posts on Facebook;

AND WHEREAS: Her 7-year prison sentence for such social media posts is a flagrant violation of Article 18, Section 1, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; AND Article 19, Sections 1 & 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (to which Iran is a signatory) AND Article 24 of the Iranian Constitution;

THEREFORE: Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht is a prisoner of conscience and both the draconian prison sentence and her continued imprisonment are ILLEGAL. The international community is thus obligated to take up this matter URGENTLY and bring all possible pressure to bear upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to IMMEDIATELY and UNCONDTIONALLY release Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, drop the ILLEGAL charges against her, and allow her to return to the United Kingdom.

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