Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki was told that he has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. This announcement was made to him without the presence of his lawyers or the presiding judge Pir Abbasi, by Mr. Sattari, the court clerk in charge of the Revolutionary Court’s Branch number 26, who forced Ronaghi-Maleki to sign and accept the rendered sentence.

Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki (a.k.a Babak Khorramdin) was arrested along with his brother Hassan Ronaghi-Maleki on the December 13th, 2009 in the city of Malekan near Tabriz and transferred to Evin prison. According to RAHANA, during his 10 months in prison, Ronaghi- Maleki, a web blogger and human rights activist was exposed to both physical and psychological torture at Evin’s ward 2A, with the hope to obtain a forced confession and television interview.

As a result of Ronaghi-Maleki’s refusal to confess to the crimes published in Keyhan newspaper this past March, interrogators and the judges in charge of his case file increased pressure on this web blogger keeping him in solitary confinement under the supervision of the IRGC forces. His brother Hassan Ronaghi-Maleki was released on 75,000 USD bail, after one month incarceration and enduring extreme torture. During his time in jail he was repeatedly taken to interrogation rooms together with his brother. Hassan was repeatedly beaten and mistreated in order to force his brother Hossein into cooperation.

The following is an account of the illegal and arbitrary actions of the judicial authorities in the Islamic Revolutionary Court with regards to Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki and his case file in the past month that culminated in a heavy 15 year prison sentence. On October 2010, Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki was taken to Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court and without the presence of his lawyers sentence to 15 years in prison.

On Monday Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki contacted his home and informed his family that
he had been taken to court with out the presence of his lawyers or judge Pir
Abbasi, the judge presiding over his case. Hossein stated that Mr. Sattari, the
court clerk was present and informed Hossein that he should have been sentenced
to death and that indeed he had initially been given the death sentence, but the
judiciary officials decided to change the verdict to a prison sentence instead.
In his telephone conversation with his family Ronaghi-Maleki added: “Mr.
Sattari, did not allow for my lawyer to be present and said that I need to
dismiss my lawyer if I don’t want to be punished even further. After rendering
the sentence, he beat me, pressured me and forced me to sign the court document.
He didn’t even allow me to read the sentence and forced me to sign it without
reading out the verdict to me. Things are so bad nowadays that the court clerk
has the power to act independently. It is truly regretful.” Ronaghi- Maleki’s
sentence was handed down without presenting any evidence of the supposed crimes
he was accused of. It looks as though mere accusations and false information
presented by the IRGC were sufficient to sentence this innocent web blogger.
Moreover, Mr. Sattari the court clerk incharge of branch 26 of the Revolutionary
Court stated: “Since Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki has not accepted the charges he has
been accused of and has refused to give an interview and confess to his crimes,
we decided to give him an even harsher sentence. Had he confessed to his crimes,
his sentence would have been reduced.” Sattari had previously told
Ronaghi-Maleki’s mother that “Hossein should have been executed but we gave him
a break!”

After spending 10 months in solitary confinement and enduring
extensive pressure and torture by prison guards, Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki was
initially taken to branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court on August 15th, presided
by Judge Pir Abbasi. On that day a 28,000 USD bail was set for his release.
Though Ronaghi-Maleki’s family provided the court with the bail amount and the
bail was recorded by the court, Ronaghi-Maleki was nevertheless still not
released from prison. When his family approached branch 26 of the Revolutionary
Court, they were informed by Mr. Sattari that the bail had been denied and that
his prison sentence had been extended until September 18th, 2010. When Hossein’s
family inquired as to the reason behind this decision, Mr. Sattari responded
that the IRGC had sent them a letter requesting that bail be denied and that a
prison sentence be reinstated instead. Mr. Sattari had added that a report from
the city of Malekan’s Intelligence office had also been received, calling for
the cancellation of Ronaghi-Maleki’s bail and the reinstatement of the prison
sentence. In addition, Sattari stated that the Malekan city council had also
filed a report against Ronaghi-Maleki and his father and as such he would have
to remain in custody. After bail was canceled and a prison sentence reinstated,
Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki was once again taken to Branch 26 of the Revolutionary
Court on August 21st presided by Judge Pir Abbasi. His lawyer, Mr. Dadkhah was
present on that day and presented an official complaint to the court about the
illegal nature in which bail had been denied and a jail sentence reinstated.
Even though, his lawyer Mr. Dadkhah presented this legal complaint to branch 26,
unfortunately on September 15th, it became evident that the written complaint
filed by Ronaghi-Maleki and his lawyer had been removed from his case file. On
this same date, Ronaghi-Maleki told Judge Pir Abbasi: “I endured extreme
physical pain and torture at the hands of my interrogators. They pressured me
and tortured me in order to force me to accept the false accusations.”

Judge Pir Abbasi’s response to Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki was as
follows: “The interrogators did as they were told. We gave them the orders to
torture you. You deserved it and we will continue to tell them to torture you.”
It was around the same time that Hossein’s mother contacted Mr. Sattari the
legal clerk at Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court and complained about the
torture both his son Hassan and Hossein had endured at the hands of the
interrogators. In response to her complaint, Mr. Sattari had said: “We can
torture or kill anyone we want to and no one has the right to complain, or say
anything to us!”

The individuals who have put extreme pressure on
Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki and his family in the past 10 months, seeking to inflict
an heavier sentence that 15 years prison for Ronaghi-Maleki are as follows:
Judge Pir Abbasi, the judge presiding over branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court,
Mr. Sattari, the court clerk and head of branch 26, his brother who was one of
Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki’s interrogators, a person by the name of “Eslami” in
charge of the Revolutionary Court’s archives, Parviz Sohrabi, Intelligence
Officer, Parviz Alipour, commander of the Maragheh Information and resident of
Malekan. The unjust acts committed by these individuals include the arrest of
Hassan Ronaghi-Maleki, Hossein’s brother, who was beaten so severely that there
were injuries to his neck and spine, threats to arrest his other family members
including his father, demanding a multi million Touman bribe in order to release
Ronaghi-Maleki, to name a few. It is also worth mentioning that the 15 year
sentence handed down to Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki has not yet been officially
communicated to his lawyers.


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