Iran sentences two students to 16 years in prison each for 'sabotage'

Their lawyer said they confessed after 50 days in isolation without a telephone call or access to a lawyer

A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran's Evin prison June 13, 2006. Iranian police detained 70 people at a demonstration in favour of women's rights, the judiciary said on Tuesday, adding it was ready to review reports that the police had beaten some demonstrators.  REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (IRAN)

Two Iranian students have been sentenced to 16 years in prison each on charges including sabotage and collaboration with outlawed anti-regime groups, judicial authorities in Iran said on Tuesday.

Local media named them as Ali Younessi and Amir Hossein Moradi of Tehran's Sharif University of Technology, and said they had been under arrest since April 2020.

They received 10-year terms for "destruction of public installations", five years for plotting against national security and "co-operation with hostile groups", and one year for propaganda against the Islamic republic, judiciary spokesman Zabihollah Khodayian told state television.

Benefiting from the concurrent running of sentences, they will serve only 10 years, "the heaviest sentence" that was imposed, Mr Khodayian said.

In May 2020 the judiciary said the pair were accused of having been in contact with "counter-revolutionary groups", notably the banned and exiled People's Mujahedeen, which authorities have blamed for unrest in Iran.

Mr Khodayian said they were also accused of "corruption on earth," which is generally punished by death, "but the court found no proof".

Their lawyer, Mostafa Nili, said he would appeal against the "heavy" ruling.

"The two young men confessed after 50 days in isolation, without any telephone call and without the right of access to a lawyer," he wrote on Twitter.

Updated: April 26, 2022, 12:28 PM