Hundreds of Iranian political and civil activists have published a letter condemning the nine-year prison sentence handed to sociologist Saeed Madani for his writings on various aspects of society, saying it highlighted the lack of independence in Iran’s judicial system.

The letter, signed by Hashem Aghajari, Abolfazl Ghadyani, Ali Afshari, and more than 600 other activists, says the accusations against Madani are baseless and were fabricated by the Islamic Republic’s security institutions.

The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran in December found the prominent Iranian sociologist and journalist guilty of “forming and managing antiestablishment groups” and of “propaganda against the Islamic republic of Iran.”

Signatories to the letter, published on February 22, noted “such sentences have no result other than depriving Iranian society of committed thinkers who strive for freedom and justice, and only blocks the nonviolent development of the country.”

The accusations against the 61-year-old Madani are mainly based on materials published by him describing and explaining various aspects of Iranian society, a source told RFE/RL.

In January, Madani was prevented from leaving Iran to begin a one-year research program at Yale University in the United States. He has published several studies on social issues in Iran, including violence against women, child abuse, prostitution, and poverty.The publication of some of Madani’s books has been banned in Iran.

In a letter sent last year to Mohammad-Mehdi Esmaili, the minister of culture and Islamic guidance, Madani protested against the banning of the publication of his books without a court order.

He has been imprisoned several times before for membership in the banned Nationalist-Religious Alliance political opposition group and for “propaganda against the state.”

In 2016, he was exiled to the southern port city of Bandar Abbas after serving four years of an eight-year prison sentence at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Source » rferl