Reporter and Telegram channel operator Amir Saeinia has been sentenced to six months in prison for “spreading lies via an electronic system” after penning an open letter of complaint to Hassan Morsali, Friday Imam for the city of Sufiyan in East Azerbaijan province.
Saeinia runs the Deniz Sesi Telegram channel, an independent news provider sharing items of interest to local people in the city of Shabestar with its 13,500 subscribers.
Local sources told IranWire Saeinia had appeared before Branch 101 of Shabestar Criminal Court after Morsali complained about what had been written about him. Saeinia was then sentenced to six months in prison by the presiding Judge Qaderkhani.
Part of Saeinia’s defense read: “How is it that if the media shouts the public demands of the people, it will earn a prison sentence, but Your Excellency can easily make demands of the governor on behalf of the people from behind your podium? Who has taken away this basic right from us, and set it free for you?
Saeinia was also the subject of a complaint by the East Azerbaijan Foundation for Martyrs and Veterans Affairs, which had seen him charged with “insulting public decency by using offensive expressions”, but he was acquitted of this charge in court.