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Pro-Rouhani Journalist Tortured by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Acquitted of Anti-State Charges

CHRI - More than two years after his arrest and torture by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), reformist journalist Farzad Pourmoradi, a supporter of President Hassan Rouhani, has been acquitted of the charges laid against him.

In a post on his Facebook page on July 12, 2017, Pourmoradi said he had been acquitted of "propaganda against the state," "assembly and collusion against national security" and "insulting state officials."

"I will never forget the time [during my interrogation] when my head was shaved and my hands and feet were in chains and I was being forced to say things the interrogators' wanted," he wrote.

"But of course their plan failed," he added. "I had nothing to tell them other than my support for Rouhani's government and reforms. I knew there must be independent judges who understand what's going on and would acquit me."

In his Facebook post Pourmoardi said he was "only found guilty of 'disturbing public order' and fined 1.5 million tomans ($460 USD), but I won't have to pay anything after calculating the time I served in detention."

The former editor-in-chief of the Kermanshah Post, Pourmoradi was arrested by the IRGC's Intelligence Organization in Kermanshah, northwestern Iran, on January 3, 2016 and held for 46 days before being released on bail.

He previously worked as a journalist for several other news sites, including the semi-official Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) and later became the administrator for the "Kalagh (Raven) News" channel on the Telegram messaging and social media network. The website's name sarcastically refers to religious hardliners in Iran who are often referred to as ravens because of their alleged "sneaky" character.

At his trial on December 5, 2016, Pourmoradi's lawyer, Shahab Tajari, presented his defense by noting that the indictment against Pourmoradi was vague, faulty and did not mention whom he had allegedly insulted.

"During the interrogations he was initially accused of having contacts with some unknown websites and questioned about the Kalagh News channel," a source close to Pourmoradi told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) in December 2016.

"But later he was accused of being an agent of the West in Kermanshah and humiliated and threatened under interrogation for long periods," added the source, who requested anonymity for security reasons. "Once he lost consciousness during the interrogation, fell down and was moved to his solitary cell by his handlers."