Freedom of Speech in Iran: Activist Gets One-Year Prison Sentence for SPIEGEL Interview
Last week Iranian activist Abed Tavancheh was sentenced to one year in prison for giving an interview to SPIEGEL about student protests. His lawyer Naser Zarafshan says his client doesn't regret speaking out.
SPIEGEL: Your client Abed Tavancheh was supposed to have been arrested last Tuesday. What do the authorities in Iran accuse him of having done?
SPIEGEL: How did the authorities become aware of the interview?
Zarafshan: Immediately after the publication of the interview, a "special report" was published in a large, extremely conservative daily newspaper. The report labeled SPIEGEL a "Zionist magazine" and Tavancheh was harshly attacked as a "US-oriented left winger." Subsequently the state prosecutor summoned him.
SPIEGEL: Did the case go to trial?
Zarafshan: The interrogation was followed by three hearings before a revolutionary tribunal. I was even not summoned to two of the hearings. One cannot hope for justice there. We cited the right to freedom of expression which is guaranteed in our constitution. Nevertheless the court considered the interview to be a "violation of national security." For this, Tavancheh got a new prison sentence of one year.
SPIEGEL: Did your client accept the verdict?
SPIEGEL: Now the authorities are looking for Tavancheh. Does he now regret having given the interview?
Zarafshan: My client knew what he was getting into. He stands by every sentence.
Interview conducted by Dieter Bednarz
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