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For Violating Iran Sanctions Bahadorifar Got 4 Years Now Surrender Delay to End July 12

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Photos

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 5 –  For violating Iran sanctions and money laundering, Niloufar Bahadorifar was charged in an indictment unsealed on July 1, 2021.

  On July 2, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Ronnie Abrams granted Bahadorifar pre-trial release on $250,000 Personal Recognizance Bond and no contact with known victims or witnesses except Saman Mehdizadeh.   

On July 8, Judge Abrams held a proceeding with Bahadorifar appearing by video, now represented by the Federal Defenders (who brought up the seizure of her driver's license). She pleaded not guilty; the next conference was set for October 15.

On July 13, the unsealing of kidnapping conspiracy, sanctions violations conspiracy, bank and wire fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy charges against ALIREZA SHAVAROGHI FARAHANI, a/k/a “Vezarat Salimi,” a/k/a “Haj Ali,” MAHMOUD KHAZEIN, KIYA SADEGHI, and OMID NOORI, and sanctions violations conspiracy, bank and wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and structuring charges against NILOUFAR BAHADORIFAR. See here. It is expanding...

The indictment said Bahadorifar a/k/a Nellie "and others known and unknown would and did provide and cause others to provide services to Iran and to the Government of Iran from the US and by US persons.  Since then, the US has zeroed in on Mahmoud Khazein, and the defendant's communications about international transfers of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, "in countries including Russia and China."

She is also charged with bank fraud and structuring.    

This came as the EDNY pursues a FARA violation case against Kaveh Afrasiabi, who replies that he was openly paid by Iran's Mission to the UN, through the UN Federal Credit Union.

Inner City Press, covering both cases, has asked the UN to explain these payments, but so far the UN has refused to answer or allow access.

A man from Azerbaijan was arrested with an AK-47 style assault rifle surveilling the Brooklyn home of an Iranian journalist, Inner City Press exclusively reported learned on July 29, 2022,

   In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York past 5 pm that day, a detention or release proceeding was held by Magistrate Judge Sarah Cave on defendant Khalid Mehdiyev. He was heavy-set and in a black T-shirt, escorted in by two US Marshals. Inner City Press was the only media there. Complaint on Patreon here

On January 27, 2023, Mehdiyev's paymaster was presented, but not arraigned, again before Judge Cave. He was in a black t-shirt, repeating "Da" sullenly, detained on consent with a taxpayer-funded lawyer. He will next appear before Judge Colleen McMahon on January 31 at 4 pm. Inner City Press will stay on the cases, including of Polad Omarov, set to be extradited in from the Czech Republic. Vlog here

On December 15, 2022 a guilty plea: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Ronnie Abrams: Change of Plea Hearing as to Niloufar Bahadorifar held on 12/15/2022. Defendant (1) Niloufar Bahadorifar present. Defendant pleads guilty to Counts Two and Five of the Superseding Indictment. A sentence is scheduled for February 7, 2023 at 10:00 a,m, Defendant shall remain on bail with existing terms to remain in effect. (Sentencing set for 2/7/2023 at 10:00 AM before Judge Ronnie Abrams) Plea entered by Niloufar Bahadorifar (1) Guilty as to Count 2s,5s."

On April 7, after filing a substantially redacted sentencing memo asking for a probationary sentence, Bahodorifar was sentenced to four years, after Masij Alinejad spoke. Inner City Press thread (and Q&A after here; Alamy photos here

Masih Alinejad: I watch over my shoulders. The threat impacted my husband and step-children. We live out of suitcases. I feel I am in Iran, sometimes.

Masih Alinejad: I miss my little corner of Brooklyn. I planted trees for my parents, then I had to leave them. The Islamic Republic of Iran rapes women. It is impossible for anyone to say they didn't know. [Stares at defendant]. I am for the harshest sentence.

Lichtman: My client Ms Bahadorifar was beaten by her husband. This is a unique case. Why is this courtroom not filled with international press? [Inner City Press is here, but no one from UN, where Inner City Press is banned from entering

 Lichtman: She married a fundamentalist lunatic. She paid a private investigator over PayPal, listing an IRCG member on the memo.  [IRIB which broadcasts forced confessions is a full member of the UN Correspondents Association, which colludes in my ban from UN]

 Lichtman: No one else will be sentenced for this. [Guy with AK-47 was arrested, as Inner City Press first reported.]  Lichtman: Iran targeted a Jewish center in Greece. They tried to kill  MikPompeo  and  John Bolton

Niloufar Bahadorifar: I was unaware [Sobs, looks back at Masih Alinejad] Judge: Violating US sanctions on Iran increases the chance of war. I have to send a strong message. I sentence you to 48 months in prison.

 AUSA asks for immediate remand to prison. Judge declines, says self surrender on July 7.

July 7 was extended to January 19, 2024 - then on January 15, MKL Day, Bahadorifar's lawyer wrote it, with withheld exhibit and summary, to request to extend surrender to May 3, 2024.

On January 16, Judge Abrams asked for more information: "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to Niloufar Bahadorifar on [79] MOTION to Stay surrender. ENDORSEMENT: No later than January 30, 2024, Ms. Bahadorifar must submit a letter from a medical professional justifying why she cannot surrender prior to May 3, 2024. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Ronnie Abrams on 1/16/2024)."

After more delays, on June 5, this: "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to Niloufar Bahadorifar (1) granting [98] MOTION to Stay prison surrender. ENDORSEMENT: Application granted. The Court will permit this final adjournment. Ms. Bahadorifar, however, is warned that she must get any and all medical treatment she seeks prior to July 12, 2024. Any remaining issues will be addressed by the Bureau of Prisons, as the Court has been assured that it can and will accommodate her medical needs. (Signed by Judge Ronnie Abrams on 6/5/2024)."

More including analysis on Substack here

 This case is US v. Bahadorifar, 21-cr-430 (Abrams)


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