TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An Iranian national convicted of assaulting police officers in Taipei in mid-October has been sentenced for his crimes to three months in prison, and will be deported following completion of the sentence.
However, the court ruled that the sentence may be commuted into a fine of NT$90,000 (about US$3,000) instead, meaning the man will not have to serve any time in jail. He would merely have to pay the fine before leaving the country.
It is also still possible to appeal the decision, reports the liberty times.
The 31-year-old Iranian man, Vahid Mazinani, arrived in Taiwan in 2014 to study in a doctoral program in chemistry, which he had not completed. He left the program and began working as a research assistant at Academia Sinica before the incidents on Oct. 12-13.
Mazinani created a buzz on Taiwan’s social media in October when he was filmed arguing with officers and then assaulting and even head-butting them while on a busy Taipei street.
He had been jogging in the middle of Ketagalan Boulevard, the wide avenue in front of the Presidential Office, when officers approached him and told him he was a creating a safety concern for himself and drivers.
Then the altercation began, with bystanders filming, and later uploading the footage to social media.
After being released on bail later that evening, Mazinani went drinking all night with a friend, and in the early morning was once again stopping traffic, reportedly by kneeling to pray in the middle of a street in New Taipei's Yonghe district.
When a city bus driver approached him to tell him to move, he assaulted the man, causing injury to the 63 year old driver. After police arrived on the scene, Mazinani assaulted officers and resisted arrest for the second day in a row.
After the incident, Academia Sinica released the man from their employment.
His friends told local media at the time of the incident that he had been a happy and easy going man, but that he had been increasingly distressed because of a recent break-up and pressure at his job. Some sources suggested he was suffering from a mental illness.