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Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

Iranian Lawyer Mohammad Najafi Arrested, Faces Grave Medical Danger as Flogging Looms

Mohammad Najafi, an Iranian lawyer sentenced to jail time and flogging owing in part to his whistleblowing activity in a death in custody case, has been taken into custody in violation of legal protocol and faces grave danger owing to his severe diabetes should the flogging sentence be carried out, reports his lawyer Payam Derafshan.

Najafi was arrested suddenly and unexpectedly on the morning of October 28 for purposes of sentence implementation despite the fact that, per Iranian law, he should have been formally summoned to Arak’s Branch Two Sentence Implementation Court following a time period prescribed by law.

Payam Derafashan, Najafi’s lawyer, called the judiciary’s actions “contrary to the law”: “The law foresees a time period and the necessity of a summons so that an individual can prepare evidence that he or she cannot, for any reason, bear the punishment, and turn it over to a judge for referral to a medical expert.”

Lawyer Derafshan stated that Najafi is affected by a severe case of diabetes for which he has taken medication for years. One effect of the diabetes is that even small injuries sustained by Najafi take a long time to heal. Najafi has been sentenced to 74 lashes among other punishments; if carried out, such a flogging sentence may represent a mortal danger to him.

“Given the lawlessness regrettably apparent [in this case], it’s not at all unlikely that the flogging sentence will be carried out in just the same way” Derafshan added.

Derafshan further explained: “If the retrial request at the Supreme Court were to have been granted, the sentence would have likely been overturned and its implementation halted. Just 10 minutes afterwards, however, a text message arrived telling me that Najafi’s case had been given over to Arak’s Sentence Implementation Branch Two. On Sunday [October 28] morning, contrary to the law, with no summons or respect for the legally-prescribed period of time, my client was suddenly arrested for purposes of sentence implementation, and they announced this fact to him and his family.”

Najafi and ten other civil society activists in Markazi Province have been given sentences of jail time and flogging. Charges leveled against some of these defendants stem from their work distributing information on the case of Vahid Heidari, a young man who died in law enforcement custody following a crackdown on widespread protests in January 2018.

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