Ali Khamenei receiving what was said to be his Barakat vaccine (file photo)

Ali Khamenei receiving what was said to be his Barakat vaccine

Lawyers Who Filed COVID Lawsuit Against Khamenei Get Harsh Prison Time

6/21/2022

A group of lawyers and civil rights activists who had filed a lawsuit against Iran’s Supreme Leader for "Covid mismanagement" were given harsh sentences, their attorney said on Monday.

Babak Paknia said that in addition to years of imprisonment, they were also banned from carrying out their professions as well as media activities. 

According to him, Mehdi Mahmoudian and Mostafa Nili were sentenced to four years in prison in addition to two years of deprivation of any form of media activities, while Nili was also sentenced to a two-year ban from his job.

Arash Kaykhosravi was sentenced to two years behind bars, one year deprivation of the right to practice law and one year ban on media activities, Mohammad Reza Faghihi was sentenced to six months in prison and Maryam Afrafraz received a 95-day imprisonment sentence. 

The group of five, who were arrested on August 15 last year and put on trial at Branch 29 of Tehran Revolutionary Court in April, has come to be called 'Defenders of Right to Health' by the media.

Ali Khamenei ruled out importing United States- and British-made Covid-19 vaccines in January 2021, arguing that the US and Uk cannot be trusted. At the time, the US-German Pfizer, US-made Moderna and the British-made AstraZeneca were the only vaccines approved internationally and available in early 2021.

The group's litigation apparently sought to establish that decisions by Khamenei, former President Hassan Rouhani, and others led to thousands of unnecessary deaths when a severe wave of infections hit Iran from June to August 2021.

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