British woman jailed in Iran for posting anti-government Facebook message

The 47-year-old was charged with 'insulting Islamic sanctities'

A British woman who was arrested in Iran after posting derogatory comments about the country’s government on Facebook has reportedly been sentenced to 20 years in jail.

The case of Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, 47, from Stockport, was highlighted by The Independent last month after it emerged that she had been arrested and charged with “insulting Islamic sanctities” while visiting family. At the time, her husband said he feared she may be executed.

According to the Iranian opposition website Kaleme, Mrs Nobahkt was among eight people jailed for a total of 123 years for a variety of offences including blasphemy, propaganda against the ruling system, spreading lies and insulting the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Mrs Nobahkt and a man called Amir Golestani each received 20 years in jail, Kaleme reported, while six others were sentenced to between seven and 19 years. They were named as Masoud Ghasemkhani, Fariborz Kardarfar, Seyed Masoud Seyed Talebi, Amin Akramipour, Mehdi Reyshahri and Naghmeh Shahisavandi Shirazi.

However, last night sources close to Mrs Nobakht’s family said that due to the multiple sentencing, they were unsure exactly how long she had been told she would spend in jail. They added that 20 years may have been an “estimate” by the court, which had so far refused to confirm it in writing, but that they were urgently seeking clarification.

Mrs Nobakht was in Iran in October last year when she was arrested by police as she arrived by plane in the south western city of Shiraz, according to an account given by her husband, Daryoush Taghipoor. The couple have lived in the Stockport suburb of Heald Green for the past six years and have both been granted dual British-Iranian nationality.

According to a copy of her charge sheet seen by The Independent, Mrs Nobakht was accused of “gathering and participation with intent to commit crime against national security” and “insulting Islamic sanctities”.

Britain currently has no embassy in Iran, making attempts to negotiate Mrs Nobakht’s release difficult. The Government is apparently using the Swedish embassy as a go-between so it can discuss the case with the authorities.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are aware that a British national has received a custodial sentence in Iran. We are seeking to establish the full facts and are following up the case with the Iranian authorities.”

Mr Taghipoor has previously claimed that his wife’s arrest was over comments she had made on a Facebook group about the government being “too Islamic”, and that she had only been charged after a confession was extracted from her “under duress”.

Ahead of her trial she was detained at Evin prison in Tehran, which is notorious both for its harsh conditions and for housing political prisoners. Mr Taghipoor has now returned to the UK and is worried about returning to Iran in case he is also arrested.

Iran has recently attracted criticism for its refusal to tolerate internet freedom. Last week six young Iranians were arrested after they posted a video on the internet of their version of “Happy”, the song by US singer Pharrell Williams.

Although popular social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are officially banned, some Iranians have found ways to access them through proxy servers.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £30,000+

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...

Recruitment Genius: IT Project Coordinator / Manager

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy