Ali Farahbakhsh was arrested on 27 November 2006, when he returned from a
conference in the Thai capital,
was reportedly not made public until 6 January, more than 40 days after it had
taken place, when it was confirmed to the Iranian Students’ News Agency by the
Director of Prisons for the
and mother wrote to the Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Shahroudi, on 22
January, expressing concern about his health
. They also complained that
he had spent his first 44 days in custody in solitary
In an interview with the Persian-language online news service Rooz on 2 February Badri Farahbakhsh, the journalist’s mother, said, "During the first week of his detention, Ali had a heart attack and also developed stomach complications, after which he spent 8 days in the prison clinic …He was extremely nervous on the two occasions that I met him.” She also said that he told her that since he had not done anything wrong, he would be released soon. She explained that the last time she saw him he seemed not only nervous, but also very angry, arguing that all he had done was attend an economic-cultural seminar. According to her, his interrogators wanted to know why he had been invited to the seminar. His mother further explained that government officials had specifically promised her that he would be freed if she did not talk about her son’s detention and condition. “I believed them and did not, until he was formally charged. When I saw him last, he had lost 10 kilos during 35 days of detention. He looked lean with circles around his eyes, which has made me very concerned about his health. His wife was denied visitation until she staged a sit-in at the prison,” she complained."
journalist for the Iranian daily newspaper Sarmayeh, Ali Farahbakhsh
reportedly also wrote on economics and foreign affairs for other Iranian dailies
such as Yas-e no and Shargh, which have been shut down. On 6
January the Iranian Journalists’ Union (IJU) expressed concern about his arrest.
The IJU said later that he had reportedly been interrogated for 10 days, mainly
about the conference and people who attended.
to a 14 February report from the Iranian Labour News Agency, Ali Farahbakhsh is
to be tried on 24 February in Branch 6 of the
fundamental flaws in the administration of justice in
Yas-e-no was closed down along with Shargh on 18 February 2004 for publishing a letter in which parliamentarians accused the Supreme Leader of heading a system that abused people’s rights. Shargh later re-opened, but was closed down again on 11 September 2006 after it published a cartoon perceived by some as an insult to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and for failing to follow an order to replace its managing director.
On 23 October 2006, the authorities also banned the daily Rozegar, which had taken on many of the Shargh journalists, because it looked very much like Shargh, on the grounds that this violated Article 33 of the Press Law.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Persian, Arabic, English, French or your own language:
- expressing concern that Ali Farahbakhsh may have been detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his internationally recognized right to freedom of expression or association, in which case he is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately and unconditionally;
- calling on the authorities to release him unless he is to be promptly charged with a recognizably criminal offence and given a prompt and fair trial;
- asking for a detailed account of the reasons for his arrest, including any charges brought against him, and of any trial which may be held;
- calling on the authorities to ensure that he is not tortured or ill-treated, and to allow him immediate access to a lawyer of his own choosing, and to any medical treatment he may require.
Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader
Fax: +98 251 774 2228 (mark "FAO the Office of His Excellency, Ayatollah al Udhma Khamenei")
Salutation: Your Excellency
Minister of Intelligence
Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie
Salutation: Your Excellency
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
via website: www.president.ir/email
diplomatic representatives of
... Payvand News - 2/17/07 ... --