Published in “Der Spiegel” on December 2, 2009,1518,664877,00.html

The Revolutionary Court of Iran has sentenced an economic expert to a heavy prison sentence for participating in the protests against the government. He was also charged with possessing classified documents. Unlike other defendants, he is not going to be released on bail.

Tehran – Because he participated in the post election protests against the government in Iran, an economic expert has been sentenced to nine years in prison. The Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Saeed Leylaz’s lawyer Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabei on Wednesday, saying Mr Leylaz was also accused of possessing “secret documents”.

Thus, a release of the economic expert on bail was dismissed by the court. Leylaz, a reformer, is an outspoken critic of Iran’s head of state Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose disputed re-election in June had caused protests of many people. At least 4000 protesters were arrested, five of them have been sentenced to death.

According to Fars, the Revolutionary Court of Iran also sentenced the brother-in-law of opposition leader Hossein Moussavi to a one year term of imprisonment. Shapour Kazemi had been arrested for participating in the protest rallies as well. Both convicts can lodge an appeal within 20 days.

In connection with the protests against the regime in Tehran, Fars also reports on a mysterious death. A young Iranian physician who had been treating presumed victims of torture in prison, according to information provided by authorities, died of poisoned salad. The public prosecutor’s office declared that the death of Ramin Pourandarjani on November 10 was caused by an overdose of a drug to lower the blood pressure, however, it is still not clear whether the 26 year old physician committed suicide or was poisoned. The opposition fears that the physician fell victim to a politically motivated murder because of his insights.