Annual Prison Census 2011 - Iran
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||8 December 2011|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2011 - Iran, 8 December 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f0420acc.html [accessed 25 April 2015]|
Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2011
Adnan Hassanpour, Aso
Imprisoned: January 25, 2007
Security agents seized Hassanpour, former editor of the now-defunct Kurdish-Persian weekly Aso, in his hometown of Marivan, Kurdistan province, according to news reports.
In July 2007, a Revolutionary Court convicted Hassanpour on antistate charges and sentenced him to death. After a series of appeals and reversals, he was sentenced in May 2010 to 15 years in prison, defense lawyer Saleh Nikbakht told the Reporters and Human Rights Activists News Agency.
The government's case against Hassanpour amounted to a series of assertions by security agents, defense attorney Sirvan Hosmandi told CPJ in 2008. Hassanpour's sister, Lily, told CPJ that she believed his critical writings were behind the charges.
Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, Payam-e-Mardom
Imprisoned: July 1, 2007
Plainclothes security officials arrested journalist and human rights activist Kaboudvand at his Tehran office, according to Amnesty International and CPJ sources. He was being held at Evin Prison in Tehran.
Authorities accused Kaboudvand, head of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan and managing editor of the weekly Payam-e-Mardom, of acting against national security and engaging in propaganda against the state, according to his organization's website. A Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced him to 11 years in prison.
Kaboudvand, 48, was reported in ill health in 2011, but authorities refused requests for medical furlough, his wife, Farinaz Baghban Hassani, told the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz. Based on their visits and consultation with a prison physician, family members believe Kaboudvand may have suffered a stroke while in custody, according to news accounts. Human Rights House of Iran reported in July 2010 that Kaboudvand suffered severe dizziness, disruption of his speech and vision, and disorders in his limb movements. At times, the journalist has been denied family visits and telephone calls with relatives, his wife told Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz.
The opposition website Daneshjoo News reported that Kaboudvand sent an October 6, 2011, letter to the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, describing violations of human rights in prison.
Mojtaba Lotfi, freelance
Imprisoned: October 8, 2008
A clergyman and blogger, Lotfi was arrested by security forces on a warrant issued by the religious Clergy Court in Qom. Authorities accused him of publishing the views of Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, the now-deceased cleric who had criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's positions.
Authorities did not specify articles or publications in which the views were supposedly cited. In November 2009, Lotfi was convicted of several charges, including spreading antistate information, and sentenced to four years in prison followed by a period of exile, according to online reports.
In July 2010, the Human Rights House of Iran reported that Lotfi had been transferred to the remote village of Ashtian for 10 years of enforced internal exile. Lotfi, an Iran-Iraq War veteran who was exposed to chemical agents, suffers from a respiratory illness which has worsened during his confinement, the reformist news website Norooz News reported.
Hossein Derakhshan, freelance
Imprisoned: November 2008
On December 30, 2008, a judiciary spokesman confirmed at a press conference in Tehran that Derakhshan, a well-known Iranian-Canadian blogger, had been detained since November 2008 in connection with comments he allegedly made about a key cleric, according to local and international news reports. The exact date of Derakhshan's arrest is unknown, but word of his detention was first reported on November 17, 2008, by Jahan News, a website close to the Iranian intelligence service. The site claimed Derakhshan had confessed to "spying for Israel" during the preliminary interrogation.
Known as the "Blogfather" for his pioneering online work, Derakhshan started blogging after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. A former writer for reformist newspapers, he also contributed opinion pieces to The Guardian of London and The New York Times. The journalist, who lived in Canada during most of the decade prior to his detention, returned to Tehran a few weeks before his detention, The Washington Post reported. In November 2009, the BBC Persian service reported that Derakhshan's family had sought information about his whereabouts and the charges he faced, and expressed concern about having very limited contact with him.
In September 2010, the government announced that Derakhshan had been sentenced to 19 and a half years in prison, along with a five-year ban on "membership in political parties and activities in the media," according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and other sources. Derakhshan has spent much of his imprisonment in solitary confinement at Evin Prison, according to multiple sources. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, citing a source close to the journalist's family, said Derakhshan had been beaten and coerced into making false confessions about having ties to U.S. and Israeli intelligence services.
Ahmad Zaid-Abadi, freelance
Imprisoned: June 2009
Zaid-Abadi, who wrote a weekly column for Rooz Online, a Farsi- and English-language reformist news website, was arrested in Tehran, according to news reports. Zaid-Abadi had also been a supporter of the defeated 2009 presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, and had served as director of the politically active Organization of University Alumni of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
On November 23, 2009, Zaid-Abadi was sentenced to six years in prison, five years of internal exile in Khorasan province, and a "lifetime deprivation of any political activity" including "interviews, speeches, and analysis of events, whether in written or oral form," according to the Persian service of the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle. An appeals court upheld the sentence on January 2, according to Advar News.
In February 2010, Zaid-Abadi and fellow journalist Massoud Bastani were transferred to Rajaee Shahr Prison, a facility known for housing people convicted of drug-related crimes. Zaid-Abadi's wife, Mahdieh Mohammadi, said prison conditions were crowded and unsanitary, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported. She said she feared malnutrition and the spread of disease. In August 2011, Zaid-Abadi was granted a 48-hour furlough after posting bail of $500,000, the U.S. government-funded Radio Farda reported.
Kayvan Samimi, Nameh
Imprisoned: June 14, 2009
Samimi, manager of the now-defunct monthly Nameh, was serving a six-year prison sentence along with a 15-year ban on "political, social, and cultural activities," the Aftab News website reported.
Initially held at Evin Prison, Samimi was subjected to mistreatment. In February 2010, he was transferred to solitary confinement after objecting to poor prison conditions, according to Free Iranian Journalists, a website devoted to documenting cases of jailed reporters and editors. He and 14 other prisoners later went on a 16-day hunger strike to protest abuse at the prison. In November 2010, Samimi was transferred to Rajaee Shah Prison in Karaj, which houses violent criminals, according news reports. In May 2011, he and several other political prisoners waged a hunger strike to protest mistreatment there, reformist news websites reported.
In August 2011, the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported that Samimi was in poor health and suffered from liver problems. Prison authorities refused medical leave for treatment outside the prison, the news site reported.
Bahman Ahmadi Amouee, freelance
Imprisoned: June 19, 2009
Amouee, a contributor to reformist newspapers such as Mihan, Hamshahri, Jame'e, Khordad, Norooz, and Sharq, and the author of an eponymous blog, was arrested with his wife, Zhila Bani-Yaghoub, according to news reports. Bani-Yaghoub, editor-in-chief of the Iranian Women's Club, a news website focusing on women's rights, was released on bail in August 2009, according to the BBC Persian service.
In January 2010, Amouee was sentenced to 34 lashes, along with seven years and four months in prison. In March of the same year, an appeals court reduced the sentence to five years in prison, according to Rooz Online.
Amouee was being held in Evin Prison, according to news reports, with part of his term served in solitary confinement. In July 2010, Amouee and 14 other prisoners staged a 16-day hunger strike to protest mistreatment at Evin Prison. Prison officials punished them by denying family visits for a month, Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported.
Issa Saharkhiz, freelance
Imprisoned: July 3, 2009
Saharkhiz, a columnist for the reformist news websites Rooz Online and Norooz and a founding member of the Association of Iranian Journalists, was arrested while traveling in northern Iran, the association said in a statement. His lawyer said his client was charged with "participation in riots," "encouraging others to participate in riots," and "insulting the supreme leader," according to Rooz Online.
Saharkhiz was sentenced to three years in prison, a five-year ban on political and journalistic activities, and a one-year ban on foreign travel, the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported in September 2010. In an interview with Radio Zamaneh, Mehdi Saharkhiz said his father would not appeal the court's decision. "He said that all sentencing is made under [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei's direct supervision and the judiciary has nothing to do with it. Therefore, neither the lower court nor the appeals court is official in any way, and they are only for show."
Saharkhiz has had a long career in journalism. He worked for 15 years for IRNA, Iran's official news agency, and ran its New York office for part of that time. He returned to Iran in 1997 to work in Mohammad Khatami's Ministry of Islamic Guidance, in charge of domestic publications. Journalist Ahmad Bourghani and Saharkhiz came to be known as the architects of a period of relative freedom for the press in Iran. But as the regime took a more conservative bent, Saharkhiz was forced to leave the ministry and was eventually banned from government service. He founded a reformist newspaper, Akhbar-e-Eghtesad, and monthly magazine, Aftab, both of which were eventually banned. He wrote articles directly critical of Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader.
During his imprisonment, which began at Evin Prison, Saharkhiz was subjected to constant pressure, including being kept in a prison yard overnight in freezing temperatures without shoes or socks, according to Rooz Online.
Saharkhiz's son, Mehdi, told the BBC Persian service that the journalist had waged a hunger strike in October 2011. Mehdi Saharkhiz expressed concern about his father's well-being, telling the BBC that the journalist suffered from blood pressure, spine, and neck problems.
Massoud Bastani, Farhikhtegan and Jomhoriyat
Imprisoned: July 5, 2009
Bastani, a journalist for the reformist newspaper Farhikhtegan and Jomhoriyat, a news website affiliated with the defeated 2009 presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, was arrested when he went to a Tehran court seeking information about his wife, journalist Mahsa Amrabadi, according to local news reports. Amrabadi, arrested with two other journalists in June 2009, was released the next month.
Bastani was among more than 100 opposition figures and journalists who faced a mass, televised judicial proceeding in August 2009 on vague antistate accusations, according to news reports. On October 20, 2009, the news site Norooz reported that a court had sentenced Bastani to six years in prison for "propagating against the regime and congregating and mutinying to create anarchy."
Bastani was being held at Rajaee Shahr Prison, a facility reserved for hardened criminals, along with fellow journalist Ahmad Zaid-Abadi, according to the reformist daily Etemad. In July 2010, Bastani's family told reporters that he had suffered an infection in his jaw that had gone untreated in prison, the Human Rights House of Iran reported.
Authorities restricted Bastani's family visits to once every two weeks. His wife, Mahsa Amrabadi, was found guilty in October 2010 on antistate charges related to "interviews and journalistic reports," Human Rights House reported. She was sentenced to one year in prison, although she was not immediately taken into custody, the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported.
Saeed Matin-Pour, freelance
Imprisoned: July 12, 2009
Matin-Pour, a journalist who wrote for his own blog and for the newspapers Yar Pag and Mouj Bidari in western Azerbaijan province, was first arrested in May 2007. Released on bail, he was rearrested in July 2009 amid the government's massive crackdown on dissidents and the press.
A Revolutionary Court in Tehran convicted Matin-Pour of having "relations with foreigners" and "propagating against the regime," according to local news reports. He was sentenced to an eight-year prison term.
Matin-Pour's wife, Atieh Taheri, told the Human Rights Activists News Agency that the journalist's health had deteriorated in Evin Prison and that officials had denied him proper medical care, according to news reports. Matin-Pour spent much of his imprisonment in solitary confinement amid abusive treatment, leading to heart and respiratory problems, reformist news websites reported.
Mohammad Davari, Saham News
Imprisoned: September 5, 2009
Davari, editor-in-chief of Saham News, a website affiliated with the defeated 2009 presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, was charged with several antistate counts, including "propagating against the regime," and "disrupting national security." The charges stemmed from Davari's reporting on widespread complaints of abuse and rape of inmates at Kahrizak Detention Center. The detention center was closed in July 2009 after Saham News and others documented the pervasive abuse.
In May 2010, Davari was sentenced to five years in prison, according to the website of Reporters and Human Rights Activists of Iran. His family said he was being held at Tehran's Evin Prison.
Davari was tortured and coerced into making false statements against Karroubi, along with false statements recanting his Kahrizak Detention Center reports, according to an April 6 report by Reporters and Human Rights Activists. When Davari complained about poor prison conditions, officials placed him in solitary confinement and denied him family visits, according to news reports.
In mid-2011, Davari was sentenced to an additional year in prison, allegedly for his participation in teacher protests in 2006, reformist news websites reported in July. In recognition of his exemplary journalism, CPJ honored Davari with its International Press Freedom Award in November 2010.
Mehdi Mahmoudian, freelance
Imprisoned: September 16, 2009
Mahmoudian, a political journalist and blogger, was serving a five-year prison term on charges of "mutiny against the regime" for his role in documenting complaints of rape and abuse of detainees at the Kahrizak Detention Center, reformist news websites reported.
The detention center was closed in July 2009 after Mahmoudian and others documented the pervasive abuse. Mahmoudian also worked with journalist Emadeddin Baghi at the Center for the Defense of Prisoners' Rights.
Held at Rajaee Shahr Prison, Mahmoudian was in poor health and suffering from kidney ailments, according to the German public news organization Deutsche Welle. Mahmoudian's mother, Fatemeh Alvandi, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in April 2011 that her son developed epilepsy while in prison and was in dire physical and psychological condition. Mahmoudian was hospitalized in October 2011 but returned to prison the next month, according to reformist news websites.
Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki (Babak Khorramdin), freelance
Imprisoned: December 13, 2009
Ronaghi Maleki, writing under the name Babak Khorramdin, discussed politics in a series of critical blogs that were eventually blocked by the government. He was also a founder of the anti-censorship group Iran Proxy, which was launched in 2003.
In October 2010, a Revolutionary Court sentenced Ronaghi Maleki to 15 years in prison on antistate conspiracy charges, the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported. The first year of his term was served largely in solitary confinement, defense lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Ronaghi Maleki's family said the journalist was in poor health and had severe kidney problems that were going untreated, according to the campaign. In May 2011, Ronaghi Maleki was transferred to a hospital in hand and ankle cuffs, where he underwent kidney surgery, the campaign reported. He was hospitalized in custody again in October 2011, when he underwent additional kidney surgery, the Human Rights House of Iran reported.
Ali Malihi, freelance
Imprisoned: February 9, 2010
Malihi, a contributor to the reformist publications Etemad, Irandokht, Shahrvand-e-Emruz, and Mehrnameh, was charged with several antistate counts, including "mutiny against the regime," and "insulting the president." Malihi was sentenced to a four-year prison term, which an appeals court upheld in September 2010, according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters. Malihi was also a leader of the politically active Iranian Students Association.
The reformist news site Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz and others published a February 2010 petition signed by 250 civil society activists demanding Malihi's release and stating that he was a nonpartisan journalist. In a March 2010 letter to Tehran's prosecutor, Malihi's father said the journalist had endured severe beatings while being held at Evin Prison, according to the reformist site Advar News.
Hengameh Shahidi, Etemad-e-Melli
Imprisoned: February 25, 2010
In November 2009, a Revolutionary Court sentenced Shahidi to six years and three months in prison on several antistate charges, including "propagating against the regime," according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. The verdict was upheld in February 2010, and Shahidi was taken into custody the next day, according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters.
Shahidi wrote extensively about Iranian and international politics, human rights, and women's rights. A reformist who also worked for Mehdi Karroubi's 2009 presidential campaign, she had written many articles condemning the practice of stoning.
A fellow prisoner severely beat Shahidi in May 2010 as prison authorities stood by, prompting relatives to have deep concerns about her well-being, the reformist website Kalame reported. Shahidi was granted a short medical leave in June 2011, after which she was returned to prison, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Abolfazl Abedini Nasr, Bahar Ahvaz
Imprisoned: March 3, 2010
Abedini, who wrote about labor issues for the provincial weekly, was arrested in Ahvaz and transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran, according to the website of Reporters and Human Rights Activists.
An Ahvaz court sentenced Abedini to 11 years in prison on antistate charges that included having "contact with enemy states," the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported in April 2011. Abedini was not represented by a lawyer at trial. When Abedini appealed, a Khuzestan provincial appellate court would not allow a defense lawyer to present arguments, the reformist website Kalame reported. The appeals court upheld the verdict.
In September 2010, Human Rights House in Iran reported that Abedini had been beaten at Ahvaz Prison. He was transferred to Tehran's Evin Prison later that same month, the group reported. On May 4, 2011, a Revolutionary Court judge sentenced Abedini to an additional year in prison on the charge of "propagating against the regime," Human Rights House reported. The basis for the additional charge was not disclosed.
Siamak Ghaderi, freelance
Imprisoned: July 27, 2010
Ghaderi was arrested in connection with entries he posted on his blog, IRNA-ye maa, or Our IRNA, a reference to the Islamic Republic's official news agency. In the entries, he wrote about street protests and other developments after the contested 2009 presidential election, according to the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz.
In January 2011, Ghaderi was sentenced to four years in prison and 60 lashes on charges of "propagating against the regime," "creating public anxiety," and "spreading falsehoods," according to the BBC's Persian service.
Ghaderi was an editor and reporter for IRNA for 18 years until he was dismissed for writing about the 2009 election on his blog, Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz said. Pro-government news websites, among them Rasekhoon and Haghighat News, called him a "seditionist" who was arrested for "immoral" acts. Ghaderi's blog was repeatedly blocked by authorities before he was detained, Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported.
Among the entries that authorities found objectionable was a piece in which Ghaderi interviewed several Iranian homosexuals. The article was an apparent reaction to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's public assertion that "there are no homosexuals in Iran." The lashes in his sentence were for "cooperating with homosexuals," the BBC reported. The reformist news website Kaleme reported in July 2011 that Ghaderi was being held at Evin Prison.
Mohammad Reza Pourshajari (Siamak Mehr), freelance
Imprisoned: September 12, 2010
Mohammad Reza Pourshajari, a journalistic blogger who wrote under the penname Siamak Mehr, was arrested at his home in Karaj, outside Tehran, according to news and human rights websites. In his blog Gozaresh be Khaak-e-Iran (Reports to the Soil of Iran), Pourshajari was critical of Iran's theological state.
In an open letter dated December 2010, published by the Human Rights and Democracy Activists of Iran, Pourshajari described his arrest and subsequent detention. He said intelligence agents confiscated a computer hard drive, satellite receiver, and numerous documents. Pourshajari was taken to Rajaee Shahr Prison, where interrogators tortured him and subjected him to a mock execution, he wrote. Pourshajari said he was not allowed visitors, phone calls, or access to a lawyer.
In December 2010, Pourshajari was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of "propagating against the regime" and "insulting the supreme leader," Human Rights Activists for Democracy in Iran reported. In October 2011, Pourshajari was transferred to Ghezel Hessar Prison, where hardened criminals are confined, the group said.
Pourshajari was due to be tried in December 2011 on an additional count of "insulting sanctities," a charge that could bring the death penalty, according to news accounts. The basis for the new charge was not disclosed.
Arash Honarvar Shojaei, freelance
Imprisoned: October 28, 2010
Nearly a year after Shojaei was first jailed, a special clerical court sentenced the blogger and cleric to four years in prison and 50 lashes on October 2, 2011, on multiple charges of "acting against national security," "espionage," and "cooperation with foreign embassies," the reformist news outlet Radio Zamaneh reported.
Shojaei was author of the book, Madar-e-Shari'at, about the dissident cleric, Ayatollah Mohammad Kazem Shariatmadari, according to Radio Zamaneh. Shariatmadari had opposed the principle of velayat-e faqih, which seeks to convey unlimited power to the supreme leader.
Shojaei was being held at Evin Prison, where he endured torture and several months of solitary confinement, according to Human Rights House of Iran and Radio Zamaneh. He was suffering from the effects of epilepsy, Radio Zamanehsaid.
Fereydoun Seydi Rad, freelance
Imprisoned: March 2, 2011
Seydi Rad, a journalistic blogger, was arrested in Arak in March, although his detention was not disclosed for several months, according to news accounts. His sister, Faranak Seydi, told the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz that family members had maintained silence because they feared further reprisals. The Committee of Human Rights Reporters said Seydi Rad spent 43 days in solitary confinement under interrogation.
In August, a Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced Seydi Rad to one year in prison for "propagating against the regime" in his blog, Arak Green Revolution. Seydi Rad wrote about the pro-democracy movement, student protests, and labor strikes in the city of Arak.
The court also sentenced him to two years in prison for taking part in a 2010 protest and attending the 2009 funeral of Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, the cleric who had criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's positions.
Faranak Seydi told Jonbesh-e-Rah-e- Sabz that his family has only been able to visit him in person twice, and their other weekly visits have been through a booth.
Mehrdad Sarjoui, Iran News
Imprisoned: July 2011
Sarjoui, who covered international news for the English-language daily Iran News and other publications, was arrested at his home and transferred to the Intelligence Ministry's Ward 209 at Evin Prison, the BBC Persian service reported. The reformist news website Kaleme reported that he was being held in Evin Prison.
No formal charges had been disclosed by late year. Sarjoui had previously worked in the international relations department of the government's Strategic Research Center, according to the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Staff members for the research agency have access to politically sensitive material, which has placed them under intense scrutiny by government security agents.
Ali Dini Torkamani, freelance
Imprisoned: July 27, 2011
Torkamani, an economist and author of several books, was arrested after writing articles critical of government policies for a number of publications, particularly the energy trade journal Danesh-e-Naft, according to news accounts. He also gave interviews to the U.S. government-funded Radio Farda and other media outlets in which he criticized government plans to eliminate consumer subsidies.
Torkamani and some other analysts had argued that the plan, supported by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was insufficiently researched. He had also participated in an academic debate that challenged the plan. Authorities had not disclosed formal charges or Torkamani's whereabouts by late year.
Kouhyar Goudarzi, Committee of Human Rights Reporters
Imprisoned: July 31, 2011
Goudarzi, a veteran journalist for the Committee of Human Rights Reporters who had completed a one-year prison term in December 2010, was seized by suspected government agents in July 2011 and taken to an undisclosed location, the reformist news website Kaleme reported. By October, Kaleme reported, Goudarzi was being held by the Intelligence Ministry.
Numerous journalists working for the Committee of Human Rights Reporters have been detained for varying periods of time since 2009 in connection with their reporting on human rights abuses. The human rights committee said judicial authorities have sought to link the organization to external political parties.
Authorities also targeted Goudarzi's family and friends. His mother, Parvin Mokhtare, was being held in a prison in Kerman in late year on charges of "insulting the supreme leader" and "giving interviews to foreign media" concerning government harassment of the journalist, Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported. Two of Goudarzi's friends were briefly detained and later took their own lives, according to news accounts.
The Committee of Human Rights Reporters said Goudarzi was being held in Evin Prison, where he has been denied contact with family members.
Saeed Jalalifar, Committee of Human Rights Reporters
Imprisoned: July 31, 2011
Jalalifar, who had reported on child labor and political prisoner issues for the committee, was first arrested in December 2009. He was free on bail for more than a year before being summoned back to Evin Prison in July 2011, the BBC Persian service reported.
The opposition website Pars Daily News reported that Jalalifar was then sentenced to three years in prison on charges of "assembly and collusion against the regime."
Numerous journalists working for the Committee of Human Rights Reporters have been detained for varying periods of time since 2009 in connection with their work in exposing human rights violations and government malfeasance.
Morteza Moradpour, Yazligh
Imprisoned: August 26, 2011
Moradpour, who wrote for Yazligh, a children's magazine, was serving a three-year prison term on charges of "propagating against the Islamic Republic of Iran," "mutiny," and "illegal congregation," according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters.
Moradpour was first arrested in 2009 along with several family members during a protest over Azeri-language rights in Tabriz in northwestern Azerbaijan province, according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters. Two issues of Yazligh were used as evidence in the trial against him, the news website Bizim Tabriz reported. Moradpour's attorney said the charges were politically motivated, the news website Tabriz Sesi reported. The Committee of Human Rights Reporters said pressure on members of Azeri civil society had increased as the government attempted to marginalize the ethnic minority.
The journalist was jailed at the Tabriz Information Office Detention Center before being transferred to Tabriz Central Prison, where he spent nearly two months in solitary confinement.
On November 10, 2009, Moradpour was sentenced to three years in prison, Azeri news websites reported. He was released on the equivalent of US$50,000 bail in late 2010, according to Baybak, a local Azeri news website. (The practice of releasing convicted inmates on bail or furlough is common in Iranian jurisprudence.)
Moradpour was rearrested based on the original conviction on August 26, 2011, after taking part in protests related to the environmental degradation of Lake Orumiyeh in northwestern Iran, reformist news websites reported.
Hadi Ahmadi, Iranian Students News Agency
Imprisoned: September 2011
Security forces in Karaj arrested Ahmadi in mid-September, according to Aftab News Agency and the pro-opposition Radio Koocheh. An economics reporter, Ahmadi had worked for the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency, or ISNA, since 2006.
Ahmadi contacted his family by telephone after his arrest, but said he did not know the basis for his arrest, the Human Rights House of Iran reported. No formal charges were immediately disclosed.
The state-supported ISNA is run largely by Iranian university students. Originally established to publish news from Iranian universities, it now covers a variety of national and international topics. Four other ISNA journalists were jailed in October 2011.
Reza Entessari, Majzooban-e-Noor
Afshin Karampour, Majzooban-e-Noor
Hamid Moradi, Majzooban-e-Noor
Farshid Yadollahi, Majzooban-e-Noor
Amir Eslami, Majzooban-e-Noor
Omid Behroozi, Majzooban-e-Noor
Imprisoned: September 5, 2011
Authorities arrested at least 30 members of the religious minority Gonabadi Dervishes following a confrontation with plainclothes agents in the town of Kavar in Fars province, a spokesman for the group told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Among the detainees were a number of journalists for Majzooban-e-Noor, a website that reported news about the group, the International Campaign and the reformist news website Rooz Online reported.
Six of the website staffers were among those who remained in prison when CPJ conducted its annual census on December 1, 2011. In a September 12 article, Majzooban-e-Noor said agents had targeted the journalists in an effort to silence news coverage about the group.
The detainees were initially placed in solitary confinement and were not allowed to telephone their families for three weeks. In subsequent calls to relatives, the detainees said they were being held at an Intelligence Ministry Ward 209 at Evin Prison, the reformist website Kaleme reported.
Amir Ali Allamehzadeh, Iranian Labor News Agency
Imprisoned: September 18, 2011
Plainclothes police arrested Allamehzadeh, an international affairs reporter for Iranian Labor News Agency, or ILNA, at his father's home in Tehran, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported.
No formal charges were immediately disclosed, although the warrant was authorized by an investigative judge presiding in the Government Employees and Media Court, indicating that the charges would be work-related. Security agents searched the family's home in October, seizing several undisclosed items.
Allamehzadeh was being held in late year in a security ward at Evin Prison overseen by Revolution Guards, according to human rights websites. In a visit with his father, a distraught Allamehzadeh said he could not talk about conditions in prison, Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported.
Mojtaba Mir Tahmaseb, freelance
Imprisoned: September 18, 2011
Tahmaseb was among five filmmakers arrested just as the BBC Persian service aired a critical documentary on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to news accounts. Although the others were released, the Intelligence Ministry issued a statement accusing Tahmaseb of serious crimes, including "fulfilling the needs of the intelligence service of Britain," "providing propaganda for psychological war for Iran's enemies," and "money laundering." The filmmaker was being held at Evin Prison in late year, Radio France Internationale reported.
It was not clear why the government initially targeted the group of filmmakers. The BBC reported that the five filmmakers were not involved in the production of the Khamenei documentary.
Tahmaseb had directed the 2011 documentary, "This Is Not a Film," which depicted the detention of another director, Ja'far Panahi. Prior to his arrest, on September 5, Tahmaseb was taken off a flight to Europe, and his passport was confiscated, the BBC Persian service reported. His wife traveled in his place to present "This Is Not a Film" at a variety of film festivals.
Saeed Nazari, Iranian Students News Agency
Ali Nezamolmolki, Iranian Students News Agency
Imprisoned: October 1, 2011
Farzad Sadri, Iranian Students News Agency
Imprisoned: October 5, 2011
Authorities arrested the three journalists in the southern city of Shiraz and placed them in an intelligence agency detention center, the Human Rights Activists News Agency and the reformist news website Kaleme reported. No formal charges were immediately disclosed.
Agents also seized a number of undisclosed items from the home of Sadri, a regional editor for the news agency, Kaleme reported. The state-supported Iranian Students News Agency, or ISNA, is run largely by Iranian university students. Originally established to publish news from Iranian universities, it now covers a variety of national and international topics. Another ISNA journalist, Hadi Ahmadi, was jailed in September 2011.
ISNA did not issue a public response to the arrests.
Adel al-Yahya, Al-Adalah
Raed al-Majed, freelance
Imprisoned: November 11, 2011
Al-Yahya, a presenter for the private Kuwaiti television station Al-Adalah, and al-Majed, a freelance cameraman, were detained in the southern city of Abadan on charges of espionage and entering the country illegally, according to news reports.
Kuwaiti newspapers said the journalists intended to produce a report about Kuwaitis who married Iranian citizens. The Kuwaiti Bar Association said the two journalists had received permits from Iranian authorities prior to traveling to the country, according to Iranian news reports.
Hassan Fathi, Ettelaat
Imprisoned: November 13, 2011
Security forces arrested Fathi, editor of the Iranian daily Ettelaat, at his home in Tehran, the BBC Persian service reported. His wife told the BBC that security forces confiscated Fathi's laptop and satellite receiver.
The semi-official Fars news agency said Fathi was arrested after reporting for the BBC Persian service on an explosion at an ammunition depot that killed 17 Revolutionary Guards. Fars alleged that Fathi was a contributor to the banned BBC Persian service and accused him of "spreading lies and disrupting public minds." Iran bans cooperation with foreign news agencies.
In a statement, the BBC Persian service said Fathi was interviewed as an independent analyst and did not work for the organization. The broadcaster said it has no office or journalists working in Iran. Fathi's whereabouts and legal status were not immediately disclosed.
Rojin Mohammadi, freelance
Imprisoned: November 14, 2011
Mohammadi, an Iranian medical student and political blogger based in Manila, was arrested when she arrived at Tehran's international airport on a flight from Istanbul, according to news accounts. She was free on bail for several days before being summoned back to Evin Prison in late November, according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters.
Security agents confiscated her laptop computer and other belongings. The committee, citing unnamed sources, said Mohammadi was placed in solitary confinement at Evin Prison. A judge based at the prison charged her with "assembly and collusion with the intent to disrupt state security," "propagating against the regime," and "human rights activities."
Davood Khodakarami, Bayram Monthly
Imprisoned: November 18, 2011
Khodakarami, a journalist for the Azeri-language Bayram Monthly, was detained in the northwestern province of Zanjan, according to news reports. He had gone to a Zanjan bus terminal to ship copies of his publication to the city of Tabriz. Khodakarami was being held at Zanjan's intelligence office; no charges were immediately disclosed.
Bayram Monthly is the only publication in the city of Zanjan that covers cultural and social issues. According to opposition website Iran Global, security forces had gone to Khodakarami's home several times since August, threatening his family and searching the premises and confiscating his computer and personal items.