Arash Honarvar Shojaei

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

On October 2, 2011, nearly a year after Shojaei was first jailed, a special clerical court sentenced him to four years in prison and 50 lashes on multiple charges of “acting against national security,” “espionage,” and “cooperation with foreign embassies,” the reformist news outlet Radio Zamaneh reported.

Shojaei told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in September 2013 that he had been sentenced to an additional year in prison on charges of “insulting Imam Khomeini” after he said in an interview during a previous furlough that Ayatollah Khomeini had “populist conduct.” He said that authorities considered the comment an insult.

Shojaei, a blogger and cleric, was also the author of the book Madar-e-Shari’at, about the dissident cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Kazem Shariatmadari, according to Radio Zamaneh. Shariatmadari had opposed the principle of velayat-e-faqih, which seeks to convey unlimited power to the supreme leader.

Shojaei was being held at Evin Prison, where he endured torture and several months of solitary confinement, according to the Human Rights House of Iran and Radio Zamaneh. The journalist developed a host of health problems-a heart condition, hearing impairment, epilepsy, brain atrophy, spinal disc problems, and diabetes-while he was in prison, reformist news websites said.

Shojaei was granted a medical furlough in November 2011 but was summoned back to Evin Prison in January 2012 before his medical treatment was completed, news reports said. He was briefly hospitalized in September 2012 after having a heart attack and seizure, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

The Human Rights Activists News Agency reported that Shojaei has waged multiple hunger strikes to protest his treatment in prison.

HRANA reported on July 28, 2014, that after an eight-day hunger strike, Shojaei was transferred to the infirmary in Evin Prison.

On December 30, 2014, authorities announced that a Special Clerical Court had found Shojaei guilty of “propagating against the state,” and “insulting the Supreme Leader,” according to Saham News. The new charges were related to an interview he gave to the reformist Kaleme website and statements he made about the Special Clerical Court, which he said treated him cruelly and did not allow him medical treatment while trying him on the original charges.

He was sentenced to an additional four years in prison, 50 lashes, 800,000 toman (about US$260) fine, and permanent defrocking. It was not clear when the sentence was handed down in court.