Bastani, a journalist with Farhikhtegan, a reformist newspaper, and Jomhoriyat, a news website affiliated with the defeated 2009 presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, was arrested when he went to a Tehran court seeking information about his wife, journalist Mahsa Amrabadi, who had been detained, according to local news reports.
Bastani was among more than 100 opposition figures and journalists who faced a mass, televised judicial proceeding in August 2009 on vague anti-state accusations, according to news reports. On October 20, 2009, the news website Norooz reported that a court had sentenced Bastani to six years in prison for “propagating against the regime and congregating and mutinying to create anarchy.”
Bastani was being held at Rajaee Shahr Prison, a facility reserved for hardened criminals, according to the reformist daily Etemad. In July 2010, Bastani’s family told reporters that he had suffered an infection in his jaw that had gone untreated in prison, the Human Rights House of Iran reported. Authorities restricted Bastani’s family visits to once every two weeks.
In September 2012, authorities at Rajaee Shahr Prison placed Bastani and fellow journalist Kayvan Samimi in solitary confinement for several days after a photograph of the two detainees was published on the reformist news website Kaleme, the outlet reported.
Bastani’s wife, Amrabadi, was later sentenced to one year in prison on anti-state charges. She began serving her term in Evin Prison in May 2012, news reports said. Amrabadi was released on September 18, 2013.
Bastani was released on furlough in July 2013, and summoned back to Rajaee Shahr Prison on September 16, 2013, according to Kaleme.
In October 2014, Bastani wrote a story, published on the reformist news website Rooz Online, about followers of the Baha’i faith in the northern city of Gorgan, who had been imprisoned on charges related to national security. The Baha’i faith is outlawed in Iran.