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Critical Lawmaker In Iran Sentenced To Prison At The End Of His Term

Mahmoud Sadeghi, Tehran's representative in parliament. FILE PHOTO

An outspoken member of Iran's parliament, Mahmoud Sadeghi, says a Tehran court of appeals has upheld a decision, sentencing him to 21 months in prison, and a 100 million rial (roughly $2400) fine.

"The court had previously set a date for July 18, but it unexpectedly issued its ruling today," Sadeqi tweeted on Monday, May 18.

The lower court had sentenced Sadeqi last February.

Mahmoud Sadeghi (Sadeqi) had lambasted the former head of the Judiciary and current Chairman of Expediency Discernment Council, Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani, saying, how the cleric could hold high public office while during his tenure there were so much corruption in the Judiciary.

Sadeghi was referring to the case of Akbar Tabari, the Judiciary's Deputy Chief Executive Officer during Larijani's term as the Chief-Justice of the Shi'ite clergy-dominated Iran.

Speaking at a press conference on July 16, 2019, the Judiciary spokesman, Gholam Hossein Esmaili, said Tabari was arrested for "exerting influence on some legal cases" and "having unlawful and unethical involvement" in several lawsuits.

Widely known as "the judiciary's strongman in the shadows," Akbar Tabari, was the director of finance and then deputy head of the Judiciary for administrative affairs for more than two decades.

Furthermore, in a-well-publicized open letter to Larijani in 2016, Sadeghi who is a reformist member of parliament from Tehran, demanded that Larijani offer a public explanation about his bank accounts. According to some reports at the time, huge sums of money had been deposited in dozens of bank accounts in the Chief Justice's name instead of the Judiciary's accounts.

Sadeqi's criticism was generally interpreted as questioning the Islamic republic's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's authority who had appointed Larijani as Chief Justice.

Khamenei replaced Sadeq Larijani with Ayatollah Ebrahim Raeesi as Chief Justice but appointed him as the chairman of the influential Expediency Council in January 2019. The council offers advice and counsel in the country's most vital matters to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. It is also the body that mediates between the parliament and the Guardian Council.

Renowned for not mincing his words, Mahmoud Sadeghi was disqualified to retain his parliamentary seat in last February’s national elections.

Meanwhile, the Judiciary Media Center said Mr. Sadeghi was not convicted for his allegations about Larijani’s accounts, but on other unspecified charges raised by private plaintiffs and public prosecutors.