German woman and British man convicted in Iran ‘could die in prison’

Activists Nahid Taghavi, 66, and Mehran Raoof, 64, were jailed on what supporters say were trumped-up charges

Two Iranian dual citizens in their sixties have been jailed in Tehran for at least a decade on what their supporters say are baseless charges.

German Nahid Taghavi, 66, and Mehran Raoof, 64, a Briton, both left-wing campaigners, were arrested in October last year.

“I can confirm that Nahid has been jailed for 10 years and 8 months,” Ms Taghavi’s daughter Mariam Claren said on Wednesday.

“They are not members, or leaders, of a group. Their minds are left-wing, but this is it.

“They are in prison because of the systems of belief and they [the authorities] created a case against them.”

Ms Claren said her mother had been convicted after a trial conducted behind closed doors.

Mr Raoof’s lawyer Mostafa Nili said that he was also jailed for 10 years. The Iranian authorities have not confirmed the sentences.

On Twitter, Mr Nili said the court jailed the pair for “10 years in prison for participating in the management of an illegal group and to eight months in prison for propaganda activities against the regime.”

Satar Rahmani, a UK-based supporter of the British-Iranian inmate, said the trial judge spoke to Mr Raoof in Tehran’s Evin prison this week and told him he “deserved” the long sentence when Mr Raoof said he feared he would die in jail.

He and Ms Taghavi were convicted of involvement in banned political groups and anti-government propaganda after attending activists’ meetings at a cafe in Tehran that were monitored covertly by the authorities.

The sentences were issued at a tumultuous time for Iran, with the departing head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, to be inaugurated as the country’s president on Thursday.

Mr Raisi has been accused of involvement in the “death committees” that sent regime opponents to die in the late 1980s.

He is expected to be identified in a trial starting next week in Sweden of a lowly regime official accused of murder and war crimes in connection with the deaths of about 5,000 political prisoners in 1988.

Supporters of Ms Taghavi and Mr Raoof said they did not believe the sentences were linked to these events. Several other Iranian activists also received jail terms, but they were far shorter and amounted to a few months, Mr Rahmani said.

Iran has a history of tying the fate of dual citizens with its foreign policy ambitions and of seeking to secure prisoner swaps.

At least 15 people with dual nationality are believed to be held by the Iranian regime, according to the US-based Centre for Human Rights in Iran.

Ms Taghavi and Mr Raoof had both been held for long periods in solitary confinement at Tehran’s Evin jail before their trial.

Ms Taghavi contracted Covid-19 in jail but remains in the prison despite efforts to secure her temporary release to help her recover.

Updated: August 4th 2021, 2:37 PM
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