Persian-language TV host in Europe
Acting against national security
Propaganda against the regime
Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court put him on trial in late November 2016 for “propaganda against the regime” and “acting against national security.”
Sabri Hassanpour is an Iranian-born citizen of the Netherlands. Before his arrest, he was the host of Rahaaee TV, a small satellite channel, and was openly critical of the regime of the Islamic Republic. On his Twitter profile he described himself as a “film director, cameraman, and theater and film actor.”
In April 2016, Hassanpour travelled to Iran to visit his family in the southern port city of Khorramshahr to mark the Iranian new year. In March of that year, the Intelligence Organization of the Revolutionary Guards arrested him at his sister’s home and transferred him to Evin Prison’s Ward 2A in Tehran. He was charged with “propaganda against the regime” and “activities against national security.”
In late November 2016, Judge Abolghasem Salavati tried him at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court. Salavati is well known to advocate for human rights because of the gross violations of the rights of his defendants, crimes that have been recognized by the European Union and NGOs. Hassanpour was then transferred to Ward 4 of Evin Prison, a ward usually reserved for inmates convicted of financial crimes. The official verdict against Hassanpour has yet to be announced, but he has remained in prison since his 2016 trial.
As the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) and Amnesty International reported, Hassanpour suffered a heart attack on November 15th, 2016 in Evin Prison. He was taken to an external hospital, where a cardiologist told him that he urgently needed open heart surgery. “He has a pre-existing heart condition for which he has previously undergone several coronary angioplasties to unblock arteries around his heart,” reported Amnesty International in late April 2017. “He currently has constant pain in his chest and around his heart. His cellmates have taken him to the prison clinic numerous times but the doctors there simply treat him with intravenous fluids and send him back to his cell. He has also been frequently collapsing in prison after losing consciousness. The authorities have told him that he must pay for his open heart surgery, which he has explained he cannot afford. This is in breach of international law, which requires that states provide medical care for all prisoners, free of charge and without discrimination.”
A source told the CHRI: “Hassanpour’s wife is unable to follow up on his case because she lives in Holland with their child and can’t travel to Iran to pursue his case with the judiciary without also risking arrest.”
On May 9th 2017, Hassanpour went on a hunger strike and refused to take his medication to protest against the fact that no verdict had been issued by the court.