Lawyer for Jina Amini’s family sentenced to prison for “propaganda against the state”

Charged with “propaganda against the state”, the lawyer of the family of Jina Mahsa Amini was sentenced to one year in prison and banned from social media for two years.

Saleh Nikbakht, the lawyer representing the family of Jina Mahsa Amini, has been sentenced to one year in prison and banned from social media for two years by Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran, reported the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN).

The court, presided over by Judge Amouzad, convicted Nikbakht of the charge of “propaganda against the state”, according to KHRN.

Nikbakht’s lawyer, Ali Rezaei, was informed of the verdict after he appeared in court this week.

“Regrettably, the court disregarded my arguments and those of Mr Nikbakht and sentenced him to the maximum sentence for this charge, which is one year in prison, along with an additional supplementary sentence,” Rezaei said.

Branch 2 of the Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran arraigned Nikbakht on 11 March on the charge of “propaganda against the state” over his interviews with journalists abroad. He was later released on bail pending trial.

Nikbakht’s trial was held in two sessions on 29 August and 2 October at Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Amouzad.

Nikbakht, a 72-year-old lawyer, has a career spanning more than four decades. He has taken on a wide range of politically and journalistically charged cases, including representing imprisoned political and civil rights activists of Kurdish, Azerbaijani-Turkic and Arab backgrounds.

Nikbakht, who also has a background in journalism, has been persecuted, summoned, banned from leaving the country and detained by the security services both before and after the 1979 revolution.

He has spent around eight years of his life behind bars on political charges. His career is further highlighted by his role in saving the lives of nearly 30 political prisoners sentenced to death during his tenure as a legal representative.

Jina Mahsa Amini was arrested by the morality police on 13 September 2022 on one of Tehran’s streets for wearing her hijab “inappropriately”.

Less than two hours after being taken to the Morality Police building on Vozara Street in Tehran, she was taken to Kasra Hospital in an unconscious state due to the severity of the blows to her head inflicted by the officers.

According to published reports, Amini was brain-dead when she was hospitalised. She died three days later, on 16 September, at Kasra Hospital in Tehran.

Although the Islamic Republic, as usual, announced Amini’s cause of death as “a heart attack caused by an underlying illness”, her family rejected this claim, insisting that their child was perfectly healthy before her arrest.

Several eyewitnesses among the detainees in the same van that took Amini to a detention centre, later confirmed that police officers used violence and beat the young woman severely, fracturing her skull.

According to Amini’s lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, no judicial action has been taken in this case and the investigation has been conducted without the presence of her family and lawyer.