Media Advisor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Deputy President of Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency (IRNA); Managing Editor of Hamshahri newspaper
Insulting the Supreme Leader
Six and a half years in prison, reduced to three years on appeal
Date of Birth
His sentence was reduced to three years by the appeals court. He began serving his sentence on May 31st, 2017.
Abdolreza Davari was the press advisor to former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Deputy President of Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency (IRNA). For a time he was also the managing editor of the newspaper Shahrvand, published by the Red Crescent Society, a non-profit and officially non-political organization, but the paper was accused of working for the benefit of Ahmadinejad and his supporters. Nevertheless, Davari remained at his job with the paper for three months after Hassan Rouhani was elected president in 2013.
In August 2015, Judge Abolghasem Salavati tried him at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court. He was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for insulting the Supreme Leader after he allegedly posted comments criticizing Ali Khamenei on his Facebook page.
In June 2017, in a Telegram message posted by his wife on his behalf, he denied the charges and insisted that the comments were posted by unknown individuals who had hacked into his Facebook account.
Judge Ahmad Zargar of Branch 36 of the Revolutionary Court of Appeals reduced his sentence to three years, two years of which are mandatory. He was taken to Evin Prison to start serving his sentence on May 31st, 2017.
Some commentators have claimed that the imprisonment of Abdolreza Davari was partly to punish Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after his failed presidential bid in 2017, and for his obstinacy in remaining active in Iranian politics.
On June 2017 Davari himself accused the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of offering him freedom in exchange for incriminating Ahmadinejad. ‘I received a phone call on May 22nd  from someone who introduced himself as a representative of a security agency and assured me, ‘Mr. Davari, the only way you can get out of your predicament is to step forward and cooperate with us against Dr. Ahmadinejad. Only in that case would we suspend the verdict against you,’” said Davari in a Telegram post.
In a post on her husband’s Telegram page on June 4th, Davari’s wife, Elham Salmani, claimed three agencies had conceded that the accusations against Davari were inconclusive. ‘Before the comments were posted, my husband had informed the media that his Facebook page had been hacked,’ she wrote. ‘In other words, Mr. Davari at the time was not in control of the page in question and could not have posted the comments.’
‘Secondly, in the expert opinion of the FATA cyber police, the IRGC’s cyber agency and the judiciary’s digital data center, which have been in possession of all of my husband’s computer devices for the past three years, it is impossible to prove the accusations against him,’ she added.
Davari is not the only associate of Ahmadinejad who has gone to prison or faced charges. In November 2017, Ahmadinejad joined three of his allies, who were key figures in his administration - Hamid Reza Baghaei, who was his Vice President for Executive Affairs, his one-time press advisor Ali Akbar Javanfekr, and his former financial affairs director, Habibollah Joz-e Khorasani - at a holy shrine near Tehran where they had sought sanctuary in a bid to escape appearing in court, and as a protest against cases being brought against them. In a speech at the shrine, Ahmadinejad in effect accused brothers Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, and Sadegh Larijani, the judiciary chief, of orchestrating actions against him and his associates.