Reporters Without Borders called today on the Iranian authorities to give immediate news and guarantees about the state of health of imprisoned journalist Mohsen Sazgara, a prominent reformist who has heart problems and has been very weakened by a hunger-strike staged since he was jailed on 15 June.
Since 14 August, his family has not had word of him and not been able to see him in prison. He was transferred on 2 October from Teheran's Evin prison to Baghiatollah Hospital, where Canadian-Iranian journalist died in July after being beaten at Evin.
"We demand that Sazgara's family doctor be allowed to see him," said the press freedom organisation's secretary-general, Robert Ménard. "His life must not be endangered in any way, either health-wise, which would suit some people, or by being beaten, which is not unusual at Evin prison, as the attacks on Kazemi there have shown.
"We also call on the European Commission to press the authorities for an inspection of the country's prisons," he said.
Sazgara, one of the founders of Iran's reformist press, published the daily papers Jameh, Neshat and Tous, which have all been suspended, and is the founder of the Internet website www.alliran.net, which was closed after his arrest.
An outspoken political commentator, he wrote that "the past five years have shown that the country's religious rulers are neither reformable nor effective." He also called the Guide of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, "dictatorial." He was charged with undermining state security, insulting the Guide and making propaganda against the state, and jailed for a year on 27 September.
Sazgara is a thorn in the side of the predators of press freedom, who fear that once he gets out of jail he will reveal details of his conditions of detention and the practices of officials inside Evin prison. . Several journalists currently in jail are under the supervision of hardline Teheran prosecutor Said Mortazavi and the Guardians of the Revolution and are being held in the same section of the prison where Kazemi was beaten. With 17 journalists in jail, Iran is the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East.
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