Mohammad Ali Taheri, the founder of a mystical Shiite spiritual group in Iran, has been sentenced to five years in prison for a second time, this time for the charge of “corruption on earth,” his lawyer Zeinab Taheri told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“Since Mr. Taheri has already served more than a third of this five-year term in prison, he is eligible for conditional release, which we hope the judiciary will approve,” she said.

Zeinab Taheri, who spoke to CHRI in an interview on March 6, also said that Taheri is eligible for early release.

Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran issued the new sentence after Iran’s Supreme Court rejected two previous death sentences that had been issued to Mohammad Ali Taheri for the same charge.

The 61-year-old leader of the Erfan-e Halgheh spiritual group was due to be released in May 2016 after he completed a five-year prison sentence for the charges of “insulting the sacred,” “immoral contact with women,” and “carrying out illegal medical procedures,” but was charged again before he was released.

Mohammad Ali Taheri has been repeatedly charged with “corruption on earth” for writing books about the spiritual movement he founded, even though the books were approved for publishing by Iran’s Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry.

Zeinab Taheri told CHRI the new sentence was issued on March 3, 2018.

Based on Article 58 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code: “…[T]he deciding court can issue the order of conditional release for convicts sentenced to more than 10 years imprisonment after half of the sentence is served, and in other cases after one-third of the sentence is served.”

On October 29, 2017, the Supreme Court struck down a lower court’s death sentence against Taheri for the second time in two years. The previous death penalty sentence was overturned in December 2015.

Source » Iranhumanrights