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New Legal Case Filed Against Baghaei

Former Iranian deputy president Hamid Baghaei, flashes the sign for victory during a press conference in Tehran, April 5, 2017

A new legal case has been filed against Iran’s former deputy president, Hamid Baghaei, Tehran’s prosecutor general told reporters on July 27.

In the new case, Baghaei is charged with making unfounded comments and spreading lies against the judiciary, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said.

Following his release on July 26, Baghaei lambasted the judiciary with unprecedented vitriol.

His filmed comments were widely distributed via social media.

“Inspector [Bijan] Qassemzadeh told me Hossein Fereydoun (President Hassan Rouhani’s younger brother) received 60 billion tomans (more than $18 million) to install somebody as a member of Bank Mellat’s board of directors, and we’ll soon summon him (Fereydoun) to court,” Baghaei said. “Then, while I was behind bars, I heard Fereydoun had been detained. That’s exactly what he (Qassemzadeh) said. Now, where’s he [Fereydoun]?”

Somebody off camera is then heard saying, “He was freed overnight.”

However, according to Dolatabadi, Qassemzadeh dismissed Baghaei’s comments as false and unfounded.

In another part of his rant against the judiciary, Baghaei referred to his solitary confinement in Block 209 of Tehran’s notorious prison, Evin.

“Evin’s Block 209 is run by the Intelligence Ministry, and the ministry has denied Baghaei’s remarks in writing,” Dolatabadi told reporters. “A new legal case has been filed against Baghaei for his comments, while his previous case will soon be presented in court.”

Meanwhile, Dolatabadi refrained from commenting on the anti-judiciary remarks Baghaei attributed to the personnel of the hospital where he, after going on hunger strike, was taken.

Baghaei said that a day before his release, former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad tried to visit him at the hospital but was denied entry. “Yesterday, Doctor [Ahmadinejad] kindly came to visit me at the hospital. [When they did not let him in,] I was deeply saddened. [However,] all the hospital’s staff, from its manager to the servicemen, came to my room [today] and apologized.”

He said they even used profanity when referring to the officials who forbade Ahmadinejad’s entry, saying they were ashamed of what happened.

Furthermore, Baghaei lambasted the situation at Iran’s prisons.

“Please visit our prisons and see what is going on there. I had an inmate in our cell. The poor guy was there for 13 months without even being interrogated. They had not even informed his family,” Baghaei said. “Isn’t there any rule of law in our country? Is that why we had a revolution? Our youth shed their blood behind bars. Did they do it to give power to such corrupt individuals?”

Dolatabadi dismissed Baghaei’s comments as baseless. “The prisoner mentioned in Baghaei’s comments has always been provided with all legal rights and facilities, including medical services and communication with his family.”

Two days earlier, Baghaei, while thanking people for raising sufficient bail (roughly $6 million) for his release, had insisted, “They [the judiciary] cannot do a damned thing.”