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Khamenei Critic Sentenced To Jail, Lashes, Exile For 'Presence In Front Of Courthouse'

Iran -- Iranian political & civil rights activist, Mohammad Nourizad, undated.

The attorney of outspoken dissident Mohammad Nourizad said on Tuesday that his client has been sentenced to prison, lashes and exile for his presence in front of a courthouse in Mashhad last year where another dissident was on trial.

In a tweet, prominent lawyer Mohammad-Hossein Aghasi wrote that his client’s sentence includes eight months in prison, one year in exile to Tabas in South Khorasan Province, and 74 lashes, with another 74 lashes added to Nourizad’s sentence for "spreading lies.”

Nourizad has been held in Mashhad's Vakil Abad Prison since his arrest in front of the courthouse in Mashhad on August 10, 2019.

Nourizad signed a petition along with thirteen other dissidents in June 2019 demanding the resignation of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, accusing Khamenei of breaching the Constitution to constantly increase his own power and authority, turning the president and the Parliament into mere "butlers.” The group who signed the petition has come to be known as the "The Fourteen.”

The signatories of the letter to Khamenei were all arrested, and eight of them were put on trial without due process of law and access to a lawyer. The detainees were sentenced to a total of 72 years in prison by a court in Mashhad in February.

Nourizad, a documentary filmmaker, previously wrote political articles for the hardline Kayhan newspaper, but changed his political stance in 2008 and sided with reformists. Since then, he has been in and out of prison several times for his criticism of the hardline establishment and the Supreme Leader himself.

According to his family, Nourizad attempted suicide in prison in July to protest to the harassment and prosecution of his family – including his wife and his son, who was sentenced to three and half years in prison on trumped-up charges -- but survived. Nourizad has also staged long hunger and medicine strikes several times to protest his ill treatment in prison and delays in his trial.