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Iranian opposition member faced with nearly 40 years behind bars

Iranian political prisoner Alireza Golipour has been sentenced to 39 1/2 years in prison and 170 lashes by the Iranian government for his involvement with opposition activities.

His trial was held in Tehran on April 19 and was presided over by Abolghasem Salavati, a judge notorious for harsh sentencing in major cases involving political dissidents and ethnic minorities.

Golipour, who had previously worked for the Iranian intelligent ministry before resigning, was sentenced to 15 years for supporting the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, 10 years for conspiring against the regime whilst in prison, 8 years for resigning from the intelligence ministry, 6 years for use of propaganda, and 6 months for insulting regime officials.

He had previously been arrested twice, first in 2009 during the pro-democracy protests and again in 2012, and says he was tortured while in prison. He also says he had to face constant harassment by government-sponsored gangs once released.

Golipour is also suffering from lung cancer, for which he is not being treated.

On February 1, 2016, Golipour sent out a statement addressed to the “people of Iran” from Evin Prison, inviting them to resist the regime currently in place.

“After three years of enduring torture, I still chant loudly that this regime is a dictatorship and is the number one oppressor of all time of this country’s people”, he said.

“I proudly tell the dear Iranian nation that I stand firm on my beliefs. I urge the international community to see to the [Iranian] people’s rights that have been usurped from them by this dictatorship,” he added.

Iran’s judiciary claims not to keep political prisoners. However, human rights groups like Human Rights Watch have demonstrated that the Rouhani regime, despite its professed moderate-reformist stance, still sentences and jails political dissidents.

Human Rights Watch defines a political prisoner as one who is imprisoned for exercising their right to free speech or religion, or for their peaceful political activities.

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