Eleven jailed Iranian journalists start the New Year in harsh prison conditions
Borders has expressed its indignation at the prison conditions of 11 Iranian
journalists, most of them ill and in a very physically and psychologically
weakened state.The international press freedom organisation renews its
objections to their often-arbitrary detention and calls for their release.
"It is completely unacceptable for journalists like
Siamak Pourzand, who is sick and 74-years old, to still be held in solitary
confinement," said Robert Ménard, secretary general of Reporters Without
Borders."The same goes for Ali-Reza Jabari, 60, who is suffering from heart
problems and has even received 253 lashes. The journalists' families are not
even allowed to bring warm clothing to the sick prisoners.". Ménard added that
Reporters Without Borders remained very concerned by the cases of Taghi Rahmani,
Reza Alijani and Hoda Saber, whose legal position was unclear at the least and
for whom the legal period of being held in custody had long ago passed.
Information about the 11 jailed journalists :
Siamak Pourzand, freelance
journalist for several independent newspapers, sentenced to eight years in
prison, has been jailed since November 2000. This 74-year-old has been put
under heavy psychological pressure and has been tortured during interrogation.
In an open letter his wife said, "He is held in solitary confinement in the
basement of Evin Jail. According to a diagnosis given on 30 July 2003 at the
Imam Khomeini Hospital in Teheran he is suffering from an arthritic neck and
worrying disc problems that will require an operation. He is unable to walk
and to attend to his daily needs".
Ali-Reza Jabari, journalist
with the monthly Adineh, jailed since 17 March 2003, was sentenced to three
years in prison and 253 lashes. At over 60 years old, Ali-Reza Jabari has
heart problems. Held in a cell with common-law prisoners, he has been treated
even worse since a letter detailing his prison conditions was published on an
Internet site. The prison authorities refuse to allow his wife to bring him
Hassan Youssefi Eshkevari,
journalist for Iran-e-Farda, sentenced to seven years in prison, has been
jailed since 5 August 2000. Diabetic and insulin-dependent and suffering from
bleeding from his eyes, he was given a temporary release to seek medical
treatment but his doctors say he urgently needs intensive care outside of
Akbar Ganji, journalist with
the daily Sobh-e-Emouz, sentenced to six years in prison, has been jailed
since 2 April 2000. Suffering from an acute throat disorder, he was allowed a
10-day pass for treatment but doctors believe he needs an urgent
Iraj Jamshidi, editor in chief
of the financial daily Asia, held in detention since 6 July 2003, has still
not been tried. On the eve of a visit from the UN special rapporteur, Ambeyi
Ligabo, he was transferred from his isolation cell to a dormitory. Since then
he has been returned to the basement of Evin Jail. He has been allowed only
one visit, coinciding with Ligabo's trip.
Ali-Reza Ahmadi, also of Asia,
jailed since 29 July 2003, and still remanded in custody.
Hossein Ghazian, journalist
with the daily Norouz, sentenced to four and a half years in prison and jailed
since 31 October 2002.
Abbas Abdi, of the daily Salam,
sentenced to four and a half years in prison and held since 4 November
Taghi Rahmani, of
Omid-e-Zangan, imprisoned since 14 June 2003, for no official reason, has been
held in solitary confinement for nearly two months and has not been allowed to
receive any visitors since 6 December. He was reportedly sentenced on appeal,
in another case, to 13 years in jail.
Reza Alijani, editor in chief
of Iran-e-Farda and laureate of the Reporters Without Borders-Fondation de
France press freedom prize, imprisoned since 14 June 2003, for no official
reason, held in solitary confinement for nearly two months and not allowed any
visitors since 6 December. He was reportedly sentenced on appeal in another
case to six years in prison.
Hoda Saber, managing editor of
Iran-e-Farda, also held since 14 June 2003. He was reportedly sentence on
appeal in another case to ten years in prison.
The Association for the Defence of Prisoners'
Rights, set up at the end of December by the journalist Emadoldin Baghi (given a
one-year suspended jail sentence on 4 December) and human rights activist, on 6
December 2003 released a statement in Teheran condemning the situation of Iran's
A petition signed by more than 1,000 university
students and professors was published and addressed to the 'Iranian people' on 5
January 2004, calling for the release of Taghi Rahmani, Reza Alijani and Hoda
Saber whom it said had been "illegally and unfairly arrested".
Releated Report: Iran - 2003 Annual
... Payvand News - 1/10/04 ... --