Annual Prison Census 2013 - Iran
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||18 December 2013|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2013 - Iran, 18 December 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/52b83bdbd.html [accessed 25 June 2017]|
Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2013
Adnan Hassanpour, Aso
Imprisoned: January 25, 2007
Security agents seized Hassanpour, 32, 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 him on anti-state charges and sentenced him to death. After a series of appeals and reversals, he was sentenced in May 2010 to 15 years in prison, his defense lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, told the independent press outlet Human Rights Activists News Agency.
The government's case against Hassanpour amounted to a series of assertions by security agents, his defense attorney, Sirvan Hosmandi, told CPJ in 2008. Hassanpour's sister, Lily, told CPJ that she believed his critical writings were behind the charges.
Hassanpour was being held at Sanandaj Central Prison in Kurdistan Province. He has not been allowed furlough during his time in prison despite repeated requests by his lawyer and family, news reports said. His sister told the Committee of Human Rights Reporters in 2013 that the journalist's overall health had deteriorated in prison from lack of proper medical care.
Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, Payam-e-Mardom
Imprisoned: July 1, 2007
Plainclothes security officials arrested journalist and human rights activist Kaboudvand, 49, at his Tehran office, according to Amnesty International and CPJ sources. He was being held at Evin Prison in Tehran.
Authorities charged Kaboudvand, head of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan and managing editor of the weekly Payam-e-Mardom, with 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 in 2008.
Kaboudvand's health deteriorated in prison, and he was consistently denied requests for medical leave or family visits. The journalist's wife, Farinaz Baghban Hassani, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that when his family members were finally allowed to see him, they believed he had suffered significant heart problems in custody. News accounts also reported that the journalist had suffered from severe dizziness and disruption of speech and vision.
Kaboudvand has waged several hunger strikes to protest authorities' refusal to grant him a furlough to see his son, who was diagnosed with leukemia, according to news reports. After waging a hunger strike that left him hospitalized, authorities in December 2012 temporarily released him on bail of 700 million toman (about US$250,000) to visit his son. The journalist returned to prison after four days, news reports said.
In 2013, security forces told Kaboudvand that they would file additional charges against him in connection with letters he allegedly wrote to senior officials, calling on them to respect human rights in the country, according to news reports. No additional charges had been filed in late 2013.
Mojtaba Lotfi, freelance
Imprisoned: October 8, 2008
Security forces arrested Lotfi, a blogger and clergyman, on a warrant issued by the Clergy Court in Qom. Authorities accused him of publishing the views of Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, the deceased cleric who had criticized then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's positions, but did not specify any articles or publications in which the views were supposedly cited.
In November 2009, Lotfi was convicted of several charges, including spreading anti-state information, and sentenced to four years in prison followed by a period of exile, according to news 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 that has worsened during his confinement, the reformist news website Norooz News reported.
Hossein Derakhshan, freelance
Imprisoned: November 2008
On December 30, 2008, a spokesman for the judiciary confirmed at a press conference in Tehran that Derakhshan, a well-known Iranian-Canadian blogger, had been detained in November 2008 in connection with comments he allegedly made about a key cleric, according to 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 that claimed the journalist had confessed to "spying for Israel" during a preliminary interrogation.
Known as the "Blogfather" for his pioneering online work, Derakhshan started blogging after the September 11, 2001, 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, had returned to Tehran a few weeks before his arrest, The Washington Post reported.
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 reports.
Derakhshan spent much of his early 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. He has been allowed short-term furloughs in recent years.
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.
Samimi was subject to mistreatment while being held in Evin Prison. 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. In November 2010, the journalist was transferred to Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj, which houses violent criminals, according to news reports.
Samimi suffers from liver problems, which have worsened in custody. He was briefly hospitalized in March 2012 for treatment, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
In September 2012, authorities at Rajaee Shahr Prison placed Samimi and fellow journalist Massoud Bastani in solitary confinement for several days after a photograph of the two detainees was published on the reformist news website Kaleme, the outlet reported. Since his arrest, Samimi has been allowed furlough only once. He has waged several hunger strikes to protest prison conditions and treatment.
Samimi, 65, has not been allowed a single day of furlough over the past three and a half years, according to news reports.
Massoud Bastani, Farhikhtegan and Jomhoriyat
Imprisoned: July 5, 2009
Bastani, a journalist with Farhikhtegan, a reformist newspaper, 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, who had been detained, according to local news reports.
Bastani was among more than 100 opposition figures and journalists who faced a mass, televised judicial proceeding in August 2009 on vague anti-state accusations, according to news reports. On October 20, 2009, the news website 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, 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.
In September 2012, authorities at Rajaee Shahr Prison placed Bastani and fellow journalist Kayvan Samimi in solitary confinement for several days after a photograph of the two detainees was published on the reformist news website Kaleme, the outlet reported.
His wife, Amrabadi, was later sentenced to one year in prison on anti-state charges. She began serving her term in Evin Prison in May 2012, news reports said. Amrabadi was released on September 18, 2013.
Bastani was released on furlough in July 2013, and summoned back to Rajaee Shahr Prison on September 16, 2013, according to Kaleme.
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. He was released on bail, then re-arrested in July 2009 amid the government's massive crackdown on dissidents and the press.
A Revolutionary Court in Tehran convicted Matin-Pour in July 2011 on charges of having "relations with foreigners" and "propagating against the regime," according to local news reports. He was sentenced to an eight-year prison term.
In September 2012, Matin-Pour's wife, Atieh Taheri, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that her husband had been kept in solitary confinement for months, interrogated, and tortured. Reformist news websites reported that Matin-Pour had developed heart and respiratory problems.
The Iranian Human Rights Activists News Agency reported on April 1, 2013, that Matin-Pour had also developed severe spinal pain and chronic headaches in prison. The agency said authorities had denied his repeated requests for transfer to a hospital.
Matin-Pour has not been allowed a single day of furlough in the more than four years he has been in prison, according to news reports.
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 anti-state 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.
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 September 2012, Davari was stripped naked and searched as he re-entered Evin Prison after a short visit to a hospital for a medical exam, according to reformist news websites. The journalist developed an acute psychological illness in prison and suffered from chest pains and a heart condition, his brother Bijan Davari told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in March 2012. Davari has been denied furlough, his brother told the campaign.
CPJ honored Davari with its International Press Freedom Award in November 2010.
Davari suffered a heart attack in prison in February 2013 when he learned that his brother had died. He was temporarily released on furlough on February 21, 2013. He returned to prison on April 23, 2013, after authorities refused to extend his furlough, according to Human Rights Activists News Agency.
Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki (Babak Khorramdin), freelance
Imprisoned: December 13, 2009
Ronaghi Maleki, writing under the name Babak Khorramdin, discussed politics on 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 anti-state conspiracy charges, the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported. The first year of his term was served largely in solitary confinement, his 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 developed severe kidney problems, according to the campaign. In May 2011, Ronaghi Maleki was transferred in hand and ankle cuffs to a hospital 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.
In February 2012, a Revolutionary Court refused to grant a medical furlough that would have allowed Ronaghi Maleki to seek independent kidney treatment, reformist news websites said. After Ronaghi Maleki posted a US$1 million bond in July 2012, the court agreed to release him so he could undergo surgery, according to reformist news websites. He was placed back in Evin Prison in September 2012, although follow-up treatment had yet to be completed, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
In September 2013, Ronaghi Maleki began waging a hunger strike and refused medication, demanding that he be allowed medical furlough, according to the human rights campaign.
Abolfazl Abedini Nasr, Bahar Ahvaz
Imprisoned: March 3, 2010
Abedini, who wrote about labor issues for the provincial weekly Bahar Ahvaz, was arrested in Ahvaz and transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran, according to the website of Reporters and Human Rights Activists News Agency.
An Ahvaz court in April 2010 sentenced Abedini to 11 years in prison on anti-state charges that included having "contact with enemy states," the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported. 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 Kaleme 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.
In August 2012, Abedini suffered severe abdominal pain, the reformist news website Kaleme reported. Authorities denied his request for an independent medical examination, the website said.
In October 2013, Kaleme reported that Abedini had been sent to Karoun Prison in Ahvaz in late July 2013 after he testified in an investigation into the death of Sattar Beheshti, an Iranian blogger who died under unclear circumstances while in government custody. Abedini said he had talked to Beheshti before his death. The investigation was still ongoing in late 2013.
Siamak Ghaderi, freelance
Imprisoned: July 27, 2010
Ghaderi was arrested in connection with entries he posted on his blog, IRNA-ye maa (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 Farsi 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 then-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.
In August 2012, Ghaderi told his wife that he and 13 political prisoners had received lashes, according to the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
The reformist news website Kaleme reported that Ghaderi was being held at Evin Prison. The journalist has not been allowed furlough since his arrest.
Mohammad Reza Pourshajari (Siamak Mehr), freelance
Imprisoned: September 12, 2010
Pourshajari, a 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. The journalist wrote that he was taken to Rajaee Shahr Prison, where interrogators tortured him and subjected him to a mock execution. He said he was not allowed visitors, phone calls, or access to a lawyer.
Pourshajari was sentenced to three years in prison in December 2010 on charges of "propagating against the regime" and "insulting the supreme leader," Human Rights and Democracy Activists of Iran reported. In October 2011, he was transferred to Ghezel Hessar Prison, where hardened criminals are confined, the group said.
In April 2012, the Karaj Revolutionary Court sentenced Pourshajari to an additional year in prison on blasphemy charges, bringing his total sentence to four years. The journalist has declined to file appeals, citing the lack of due process in the judicial system.
Pourshajari's daughter told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran on April 1, 2013, that the journalist had suffered a heart attack in prison in the fall of 2012. She said her father would die in custody unless prison authorities allowed him to have open heart surgery. In August 2013, she told the Human Rights Activists News Agency that her father was also suffering from diabetes and heart disease, and that prison authorities were still refusing to allow him out of prison for hospital treatment.
Arash Honarvar Shojaei, freelance
Imprisoned: October 28, 2010
On October 2, 2011, nearly a year after Shojaei was first jailed, a special clerical court sentenced him to four years in prison and 50 lashes on multiple charges of "acting against national security," "espionage," and "cooperation with foreign embassies," the reformist news outlet Radio Zamaneh reported.
Shojaei, a blogger and cleric, was also the 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 the Human Rights House of Iran and Radio Zamaneh. The journalist suffered from a heart condition, a hearing impairment, epilepsy, brain atrophy, spinal disc problems, and diabetes, all of which developed while he was in prison, reformist news websites said.
Shojaei was granted a medical furlough in November 2011 but was summoned back to Evin Prison in January 2012 before his medical treatment had been completed, news reports said. He was briefly hospitalized in September 2012 after suffering a heart attack and seizure, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI).
The Human Rights Activists News Agency reported that Shojaei has waged multiple hunger strikes to protest his treatment in prison.
Shojaei told the ICHRI in September 2013 that he had been sentenced to an additional year in prison on charges of "insulting Imam Khomeini" against him after he said in an interview during a previous furlough that Ayatollah Khomeini had "populist conduct." He said that authorities considered the comment an insult.
Fereydoun Seydi Rad, freelance
Imprisoned: March 2, 2011
Seydi Rad, a blogger, was held in Evin Prison after being convicted of "propagating against the regime" on his blog, Arak Green Revolution. Seydi Rad wrote about the pro-democracy movement, student protests, and labor strikes in the city of Arak.
A Revolutionary Court in Tehran also convicted Seydi Rad on anti-state charges related to taking part in a 2010 protest and attending the 2009 funeral of Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, a prominent cleric who had criticized then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's positions. The court imposed a total sentence of three years when it handed down the verdict in August 2011.
Seydi Rad's 2011 arrest 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 not told the media about the journalist's arrest because they feared reprisal. The Committee of Human Rights Reporters, an organization of journalists who document human rights abuses, said Seydi Rad underwent 43 days of interrogation and solitary confinement after being arrested.
In July 2013, Seydi Rad briefly waged a hunger strike to protest prisoners being placed in solitary confinement, according to news reports.
Alireza Rajaee, freelance
Imprisoned: April 23, 2011
Rajaee, a leader of Iran's Journalists Association and editor for several reformist publications, was being held at Evin Prison, according to reformist news outlets. He was summoned to serve a previously suspended three-year term that dated to a 2001 case in which he was convicted of "acting against national security."
While in prison, Rajaee signed a number of letters calling for free elections and protesting detention conditions, which led to new charges of "propagating against the regime," news reports said. In February 2012, he was sentenced to an additional four years in prison.
Rajaee served as a politics editor and editorial board member for reformist publications including Jame'eh, Iran-e-Farda, Payam-e-Hajar, and Iran Political.
Alireza Beheshti Shirazi, Kalameh Sabz
Imprisoned: July 10, 2011
Authorities summoned Shirazi, editor-in-chief of the now-defunct reformist daily Kalameh Sabz, to serve a five-year prison sentence in Evin Prison, according to reformist news websites. Kalemeh Sabz was one of the initial Green Movement publications, which arose after the disputed 2009 election and criticized the regime's policies, according to news reports.
Shirazi was first arrested in December 2009 and transferred to solitary confinement in Evin Prison, according to reformist news websites. He was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of "acting against national security," but was released on bail in October 2010, the report said. He was summoned to begin serving his prison term in July 2011.
According to the reformist website Kaleme, Shirazi was released on a two-week furlough in September 2013. He returned to Evin Prison on October 6, 2013.
Ahmadreza Ahmadpour, freelance
Imprisoned: July 18, 2011
Ahmadpour, a journalist, blogger, and researcher at Qom Seminary, was serving a three-year term on anti-state charges stemming from a letter he wrote to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, according to reformist news websites. In the letter, written in 2010 while he was serving an earlier prison term, Ahmadpour protested abuses of his rights. The Qom Special Clerics Court also imposed 10 years of exile, defrocking, and deprivation of any clerical position, according to the same reports.
A disabled Iran-Iraq War veteran, Ahmadpour suffers from respiratory problems due to exposure to chemical warfare. His respiratory condition has worsened and he now suffers cardiac problems due to harsh prison conditions and lack of medical care, according to reformist news websites. Ahmadpour was being held at Khorram Abad's Parsilon Prison, which is used to confine hardened criminals, according to news reports.
Ahmadpour was a student of Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, the now-deceased cleric who had criticized then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's positions. He was arrested in December 2009 and sentenced to a year in prison on charges of "acting against national security" and "violating the dignity of the clergy" in his writings, reformist news websites said.
Ahmadpour was released from prison on June 24, 2013, and was exiled to the southern town of Izeh for 10 years, according to news reports.
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 on charges of "propaganda against the regime." 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 Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Jalalifar to three years in prison on charges of "propaganda against the regime" and "assembly and collusion with the intent to act against national security."
Jalalifar and four other political detainees waged a hunger strike in June 2012 to protest abusive treatment by prison guards, according to the reformist news website Kaleme. Numerous journalists working for the Committee of Human Rights Reporters have been detained since 2009 in connection with their work in exposing human rights violations and government malfeasance. The prisoners have waged several hunger strikes to protest poor prison conditions.
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. He was being held in Tabriz Central Prison.
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. Two issues of Yazligh were used as evidence in the trial against him, the news website Bizim Tabriz reported. In November 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.
He was re-arrested in August 2011 after taking part in protests related to the environmental degradation of Lake Orumiyeh in northwestern Iran, reformist news websites reported.
Mostafa Abdi, Majzooban-e-Noor
Omid Behroozi, Majzooban-e-Noor
Mostafa Daneshjoo, Majzooban-e-Noor
Reza Entessari, Majzooban-e-Noor
Amir Eslami, Majzooban-e-Noor
Afshin Karampour, Majzooban-e-Noor
Hamid Reza Moradi, Majzooban-e-Noor
Farshid Yadollahi, 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 journalists affiliated with Majzooban-e-Noor, a website that reports news about the Gonabadi dervish community, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and the reformist news website Rooz Online.
The Majzooban-e-Noor website listed Daneshjoo, Karampour, Entessari, Moradi, and Yadollahi as directors, and Behroozi and Eslami as editors. The journalists are also lawyers who have represented Gonabadi dervishes in recent years. Abdiis listed on the site as a reporter.
On January 15, 2013, the journalists refused to attend their trial, saying the Revolutionary Court was not qualified to hear their case, news reports said. The journalists were put in solitary confinement in Evin Prison and charged with "publishing falsehoods," "creating public anxiety," "propaganda against the state," and "acting against national security," according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Majzooban-e-Noor said agents had targeted the journalists in an effort to silence news coverage about the group. The wife of another Majzooban-e-Noor journalist told the campaign that her husband and his colleagues had established the website so that "people would know what is happening to the dervishes." She said the charges against the journalists were unfounded.
In July 2013, the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced the journalists to between three and 10 years each in prison on charges of "forming the illegal Majzooban-e-Noor group with the intent to disrupt national security," "propaganda against the state," "insulting the Supreme Leader," and "participation in disrupting public order," according to news reports. The journalists had refused to appear in court in protest of what they said was the court's bias.
Moradi was given 10 years and six months in prison, and Entessari was given eight years and six months, according to news reports. Daneshjoo, Yadollahi, Eslami, Behrouzi, and Karampour were sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. Abdi was given three years in prison.
The journalists were also banned for five years from "membership in groups, parties, sects, and activities in publications, media, and virtual space."
Saeed Madani, freelance
Imprisoned: January 7, 2012
Security forces arrested Madani, a former editorial board member of the long-defunct Iran-e-Farda magazine and former editor-in-chief of the quarterly Refah-e-Ejtemaee (Journal of Social Welfare), and confiscated a computer hard drive from his home, news reports said.
The journalist, 74, was placed in solitary confinement after his arrest, Madani's wife told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in March 2012. His wife also said their family had not been told of his condition in prison. The reformist news website Kaleme reported that Madani had been subjected to violent interrogations.
Madani faced trial on January 16, 2013, at a Tehran Revolutionary Court on charges of "propaganda against the state" and "assembly and collusion," and offered a statement in his own defense, news reports said.
Madani's wife, Mansoureh Ettefagh, told Kaleme in June 2013 that a Tehran Revolutionary Court had sentenced Madani to six years in prison in the southern city of Bandar Abbas and 10 years' exile to the same city on charges of "assembly and collusion with the intent to commit a crime against national security" and "propaganda against the Islamic Republic to benefit regime opposition groups." She said he was appealing the decision.
Kasra Nouri, Majzooban-e-Noor
Imprisoned: March 14, 2012
Nouri, a reporter for the news website Majzooban-e-Noor, was charged with "propagating against the regime" and having unlawful contact with the U.S. government-funded Radio Farda, according to Majzooban-e-Noor. His family knew nothing about his whereabouts or condition until a month after his arrest, when they discovered he was being held at the Shiraz Intelligence Office's Detention Center, his mother, Shokoofeh Yadollahi, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. After repeated attempts, she said, they were allowed to visit him.
Nouri awaited trial in prison on the initial counts. In a separate case, the Shiraz Criminal Court convicted Nouri of "creating public anxiety" and "publishing falsehoods" in connection with his work, according to Majzooban-e-Noor. The court sentenced him to one year in prison on those counts.
Majzooban-e-Noor covers news about the Gonabadi dervishes' religious community. Nouri had reported that security and intelligence forces had incited local residents to attack the dervishes during a September 2011 confrontation, causing one death and injuries to several others, according to Majzooban-e-Noor. Many dervishes, including several other journalists with Majzooban-e-Noor, were imprisoned immediately after the 2011 crackdown.
Nouri has developed respiratory problems during his imprisonment at Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz, according to reformist news websites. The journalist began waging a hunger strike in April 2013 to protest the transfer to solitary confinement of several Majzooban-e Noor journalists, according to Majzooban-e Noor.
On April 24, 2013, a Shiraz Revolutionary Court convicted Nouri of "propaganda against the regime," "acting against national security," "insulting the Supreme Leader," and "membership in the Majzooban-e-Noor group," according to Majzooban-e-Noor. He was sentenced to four years and four months in prison.
Rahman Bouzari, Shargh
Imprisoned: May 19, 2012
Authorities summoned Bouzari, an editor for the reformist daily Shargh and contributor to several reformist news websites, to serve a two-year prison term, according to reformist news websites.
Bouzari was initially arrested in late May 2011, according to reformist news websites. Security forces raided his Tehran home and confiscated his laptop and other personal belongings, news reports said. He was released on bail and later sentenced to two years in prison and 74 lashes by a Tehran Revolutionary Court on charges of "propagating against the regime," the reports said.
Bouzari is being held at Evin Prison.
Nassour Naghipour, Human Rights Activists News Agency
Imprisoned: July 9, 2012
Naghipour, a reporter and Web editor for the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), was serving a seven-year term at Evin Prison on anti-state charges related to his work in documenting violations of human rights, according to news reports.
Naghipour, 30, also established and managed a website that collected Farsi articles in different areas of humanities, philosophy, politics, and literature, according to reformist news websites.
In early 2013, HRANA reported that Naghipour had developed gum disease in prison. The journalist was denied furlough in March, the human rights agency said.
Shiva Nazar Ahari, Committee of Human Rights Reporters
Imprisoned: September 8, 2012
Nazar Ahari, a blogger and founding member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, an organization of journalists documenting human rights abuses, was summoned by authorities to begin serving her prison sentence in the women's ward of Tehran's Evin Prison, the committee reported.
In 2010, Nazar Ahari was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of moharebeh, or "waging war against God," "propagating against the regime," and "acting against national security" for reporting on political gatherings, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. In January 2011, an appeals court reduced her sentence to four years in prison and 74 lashes, news reports said.
Nazar Ahari was first arrested in June 2009 and spent several months in Evin Prison, including time in solitary confinement, news reports said. She was a 2011 recipient of the Theodor Haecker Prize for "courageous Internet reporting on human rights violations."
Nazar Ahari was granted a three-day furlough for the Iranian New Year on March 12, 2013, according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters website. She was granted another three-day furlough in September, according to news reports.
Mehrdad Sarjoui, Iran News
Imprisoned: November 28, 2012
Sarjoui was initially arrested in July 2011 and sentenced by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran to 10 years in prison on charges of "cooperating with enemy states," according to the reformist news site Kaleme. He was detained for 10 months and freed on bail in May 2012, the reports said. In August 2012, an appeals court reduced his sentence to three years in prison and seven years' suspended imprisonment. He was summoned to begin serving his term in November 2012, news reports said.
Sarjoui covered international news for the English-language daily Iran News and other publications. He 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 had access to politically sensitive material, which placed them under intense scrutiny by government security agents.
The journalist is being held at Evin Prison.
Khosrow Kordpour, Mukrian News Agency
Imprisoned: March 7, 2013
Massoud Kordpour, freelance
Imprisoned: March 8, 2013
Intelligence forces arrested Khosrow Kordpour, editor-in-chief of the Mukrian News Agency, an outlet that covers the arrests and prosecutions of Kurdish activists and documents human rights violations. The U.S. government-funded Radio Farda reported that authorities had a warrant for his arrest and also searched his home, but did not offer further details.
Kordpour's brother, freelance journalist Massoud Kordpour, was arrested at the Boukan Intelligence Office the next day, when he went to inquire about the imprisonment of his brother. Authorities later searched his home and confiscated personal items. Massoud Kordpour had frequently covered human rights in Kurdistan province, and his work has been published by RFI Persian, Deutsche Welle Persian, Voice of America Persian, and on local and Kurdish-language websites.
Massoud was initially held in solitary confinement before being transferred to Mahabad Prison in Azerbaijan Province. Both journalists were then transferred to Orumiyeh Prison on March 26, 2013, according to Kurdish news website Kurdpa and Radio Zamaneh.
Neither journalist has been allowed access to his lawyer or family members, according to the independent press service Human Rights Activist News Agency. Another brother, As'ad, told Kurdpa on April 11, 2013, that a judge had forbidden the journalists' family from visiting the brothers.
The brothers were taken to court on September 16, 2013, and officially charged with propaganda against the regime," "insulting the Supreme Leader," and "publishing falsehoods with the intent to create public anxiety," according to the Mukrian News Agency. The judge did not issue a decision in relation to the defense lawyer's request to release the journalists on bail. Massoud and Khosrow Kordpour were sent back to prison.
In November 2013, news accounts reported that the Mahabad Revolutionary Court had sentenced Massoud to three and a half years in prison and Khosrow to six years in prison, followed by exile for two years.