Society & Culture

Poet Ordered to Pay Fine to Avoid Prison

June 29, 2022
OstanWire
1 min read
Nima Safar Soflaei has been jailed twice in the past five years
Nima Safar Soflaei has been jailed twice in the past five years

Nima Safar Soflaei, a veteran leftist writer, poet and journalist based in Gorgan, Golestan province, has been fined 10 million tomans for “propaganda against the regime”.

The verdict in the case against him at Gorgan Revolutionary Court was communicated to Safar Soflaei’s lawyer, Ramadan Haji Mashhadi. “In defense of the client,” Mashhadi wrote on Twitter, “we emphasized the right to freedom of expression without limit.”

Soflaei was initially sentenced to one year in prison but permitted to walk free in exchange for the fine. The charges against him related to republishing texts by civil activists and trade unions.

Safar Soflaei’s home was raided by security agents without a warrant in December 2019. Officers confiscated his desktop computer, laptop and cellphone, and he himself was only released after posting a bail of 50 million tomans.

The writer has endured two prison sentences in the past: for 80 days in 2017, and for eight months in prison in late 2019 in a separate case.

The cases against him have not gone unnoticed by Iranian activists and artists. One wrote on Twitter in early 2018: “Soon Nima Safar Soflaei will be sent to prison to serve his sentence. This could have happened to any one of us literary people.”

“A photo for history,” the Tehran-based creative Saleh Tasbihi wrote as Soflaei left his home for prison on New Year’s Eve, 2019.

“Neat plant pots, slippers, a hat in his hand, crumpled. A picture of [Constitutional Revolution figure] Sattar Khan. A zip-up rice bag carrying his personal belongings. Sewn-up lips. Nima was sent to prison. Prison is no place for a poet.”

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