On Saturday, Foreign Desk News reported that the Iranian-American that had been sentenced to 18 years in prison for comments he made on Facebook has been released on bail. Robin Shahini, the 46-year-old from San Diego who was arrested while visiting his mother in Iran last summer, was reportedly freed from the Gorgan prison after 200 million Iranian Toman (approx. $54,000) was paid.
Last October, Shahini was sentenced to 18 years in Iranian prison for “collaborating with a hostile government,” which referred to the United States. The dual-citizen was punished for blasphemy after he “insulted the revered” on a Facebook page.
Shahini will not be able to leave Iran until an appeals court approves his release, the Foreign Desk reported.
“We were in total shock. We totally did not expect this and just knowing that he is out of prison is extremely good news,” a close friend named Sarah told the Foreign Desk.
Shahini had been held captive in Iran since July after traveling there to visit his sick mother. On July 11th, Shahini was arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard under vague circumstances while at his mother’s house. At the time, it was assumed it was because he was outspoken against Iran’s human rights record on pages across the internet. The 18 year sentence is among the harshest against an American this year.
A few months ago, Shahini sent a suicide note to his girlfriend which implored her and Shahini’s family to seek help for the emotional prisoner.
“I am not going to have easy life anymore,” Shahini wrote to his girlfriend in December. “If this continue to be like this, the logic is to end.”
Earlier this month, Shahini’s girlfriend and his family begged America for its help after they received another emotional letter.
“I am asking all the U.S. citizens and again the U.S. administration to help, as I think he is not going to last long with this situation with all health issues going on,” Shahini’s girlfriend said. “I’m really demanding that the U.S. administration take action.”