Iran Pulse

Iran court upholds sentence of Rafsanjani's son

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Article Summary
An appellate court has upheld the corruption case against Mehdi Hashemi, son of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani.

The corruption conviction of Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani, son of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, has been upheld by an appellate court in Iran, according to judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei. The decision by the court was welcomed by conservative media, which have increasingly been at odds with Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ayatollah Rafsanjani, a former president who is the head of the Expediency Council and one of the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

According to Mohseni-Ejei, the court upheld all three of Mehdi Hashemi's convictions, which were “embezzlement, bribery and security issues,” but added that Mehdi originally had a total of 12 charges, though some of them were for the same charge and therefore were combined.

Mohseni-Ejei said Mehdi was sentenced to a total of 25 years for the convictions but only 10 years will be carried out. Mehdi was initially convicted in March. At the time it was reported that he was sentenced to 15 years in prison; however, that was later denied by Mohseni-Ejei.

Before Mohseni-Ejei confirmed the news June 11, Fars News, using an anonymous source, broke the story a day earlier. On June 11, the top stories of Fars News Agency and Tasnim News Agency, two of the most conservative news agencies in Iran, were about the Mehdi Hashemi case.

Reformist Shargh Daily, which is mostly sympathetic to the policies of Rafsanjani, also chose Mehdi’s case as its top story. Shargh wrote that “after the 2009 elections the wave of accusations against Mehdi Hashemi began, and they felt him to be the man behind the street protests.” Shargh wrote that even before the presidential elections and street protests, Mehdi’s name was in the Iranian media when he was linked to bribery charges linked to Total oil company in 2007.

After the 2009 elections, Mehdi Hashemi left Iran for the United Kingdom. According to Shargh, that’s when the “media shelling” from conservatives began. Conservatives felt that had Mehdi Hashemi stayed in Iran, he could have been questioned and many questions about the 2009 street protests contesting the allegedly rigged presidential elections could be answered. However, allies of Rafsanjani believed that Mehdi Hashemi was paying the political cost of his father’s conciliatory positions after the 2009 protests.

Mehdi Hashemi returned to Iran on Sept. 23, 2012. He was arrested the next day and taken to Evin prison. He was immediately released on bail, raising questions about favoritism and igniting more accusations of him being an “agha-zadeh” (princeling). His court case began in April 2013.

Fars News published a timeline of Mehdi’s case, with the subheading, “991 days to pursue the case of the controversial princeling and a 25-year verdict.” The report had an almost day-by-day account of the case, statements of officials and Mehdi’s lawyers with a final outline of the major events and their dates at the bottom of the report. The very last bullet point asked, “When will the sentence be carried out???”

Found in: prisons, iranian politics, iranian media, hashemi rafsanjani, embezzlement, court, bribery

Arash Karami is a contributor to Al-Monitor. On Twitter: @thekarami

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