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Prisoners

Iranian Man Faces Ordeal for Exposing Officials’ Corruption

October 19, 2023
Roghayeh Rezaei
4 min read
Mahmoud Mehrabi, a resident of Mobarakeh in Iran’s Isfahan province, has been held in custody for more than eight months
Mahmoud Mehrabi, a resident of Mobarakeh in Iran’s Isfahan province, has been held in custody for more than eight months
He faces a raft of serious charges, including "corruption on Earth," said to be stemming from his online protest activities
He faces a raft of serious charges, including "corruption on Earth," said to be stemming from his online protest activities
However, a source told IranWire that the case is related to Mehrabi’s exposure of corruption among officials in Mobarakeh
However, a source told IranWire that the case is related to Mehrabi’s exposure of corruption among officials in Mobarakeh
He was freed on bail 43 days after his arrest on february 1, but security agents took him back into custody a few hours after his release. He has since remained behind bars
He was freed on bail 43 days after his arrest on february 1, but security agents took him back into custody a few hours after his release. He has since remained behind bars

Mahmoud Mehrabi, a resident of Mobarakeh in Iran’s Isfahan province, has been held in custody for more than eight months.

He faces a raft of serious charges, including "corruption on Earth," said to be stemming from his online protest activities. 

However, a source told IranWire that the case is related to Mehrabi’s exposure of corruption among officials in Mobarakeh.

He was freed on bail 43 days after his arrest on february 1, but security agents took him back into custody a few hours after his release. He has since remained behind bars.

Sentenced to Prison in 2019

Mehrabi, a 35-year-old graduate in electrical engineering from Isfahan’s Allameh Majlesi University, worked on the Isfahan-Mobarakeh city train project when he uncovered the corrupt practices of city officials.

Following his revelations, security agents apprehended him at his workplace on August 23, 2017.

During his detention, officers brutally beat him to force him to sign documents, according to the Atlas of Iran's Prisons website.

Mehrabi was eventually released on bail, but he was rearrested in June 2018 on charges of "insulting the sacred" and transferred to Dastgerd prison in Isfahan. 

In March 2019, Branch 101 of the Criminal Court of Mobarakeh, presided over by Judge Iqbal Saeed, convicted him of "insulting holy Islamic figures, including Imam Ali, Imam Naqi, and the Qur'an," as well as of "conspiring and colluding with the intention of undermining security." He was handed a 10-year prison term.

Mehrabi was released on bail, only to be re-arrested nearly nine months ago when security agents conducted a raid on his home.

Arrested Again on February 1

Mahmoud Mehrabi, like many other Iranians, expressed his protest on social media platforms when nationwide protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death rocked Iran. 

As a result, he was arrested in the parking lot of his house on February 1, according to information obtained by IranWire. 

Several agents, who were later identified as being from the IRGC Intelligence Organization, violently attacked him and handcuffed him in the presence of his mother.

He spent three weeks in the security ward of Dastgerd prison, where he was held in solitary confinement.

The source who spoke to Iranwire said that his interrogators hung him by his hands and repeatedly struck his stomach with sticks and their fists, causing a hernia rupture.

"In these nine months, they allowed his family to see him only a few times for a few minutes, and as a result, his relatives remain unaware of what has happened to him," the source said. "However, we do know that they placed a blank paper in front of him and asked him to sign."

On March 16, Mehrabi was released on bail. 

One of his sisters received death threats from Prosecutor Mustafa Karbasi for inquiring about the case and was eventually detained for a few days. She is currently out on bail.

Re-Arrested Hours after Release

Mahmoud Mehrabi found himself back in custody on the morning of March 17, following a raid on his home by security agents.

Mehrabi remains in custody to this day, and he celebrated his 35th birthday in July behind bars. 

He spent at least two months with prisoners convicted of serious crimes and endured daily death threats from them.

In July, he was officially charged with “corruption on Earth” and “spreading propaganda against the system” for his online activities, according to information obtained by IranWire.

Additionally, IranWire has received documents revealing that this 35-year-old man is facing approximately 187 charges, alongside several other individuals, as part of a larger case. 

One document from the second investigation branch of the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Mobarakeh Revolution Court indicates that he and the other suspects in the case are facing accusations from as many as 77 private plaintiffs.

The charges include "threat," "spreading falsehoods," "defamation," "propaganda against the system," "acts of sedition and corruption on Earth," "insulting the dignity or causing harm to others by disseminating private or family audio, images or videos without their consent."

The source told IranWire that the accusations against Mehrabi are all trumped up, as he was merely exposing the financial and moral misconduct of members of Mobarakeh’s city council and their exorbitant bonuses.

This individual emphasized that all the plaintiffs have been affiliated with the government or occupied roles that included security positions in Isfahan province.

Denied Medical Care

Mehrabi has been sleeping on the bare floor of Dastgerd prison, despite suffering a hernia caused by beatings, the source said, adding that the prison authorities have callously denied Mehrabi the opportunity to undergo necessary surgery. 

But when a distressing audio recording in which his mother highlighted his grave condition became public, the authorities abruptly transported him to Al-Zahra Hospital in Isfahan. 

He was promptly sent back to prison after undergoing a surgical procedure.

According to the source, Mehrabi has faced repeated threats of execution from the prosecutor handling his case. 

"I will witness your laughter at the gallows," Mustafa Karbasi, the prosecutor of Branch 2 of the Public Prosecutor's Office, once told him.

Mehrabi's legal counsel, Zahra Kazemi, has been unable to access his client's case file. 

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