Journalist Barred from Family Visits; May Be in Solitary Confinement
The family of imprisoned journalist Hassan Fathi has reason to believe he has been returned to solitary confinement, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
“We think he has been transferred to a solitary cell again, because last week when the family went to visit with him, they were told that he is barred from having visitors,” a source close to the family said. “He must be in solitary, as prisoners in the General Ward are allowed visitors. But we don’t know anything about his conditions for sure,” the source added.
Security forces arrested Fathi on 13 November 2011, one day after he had appeared as a guest on BBC Persian Television to discuss an explosion in a military base belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Fars News Agency, affiliated with the IRGC, reported on Fathi’s arrest shortly thereafter: referring to him as a BBC employee, they cited his charges as “propagating falsehoods” and “creating public anxiety.” He was in solitary confinement inside Evin Prison for more than 45 days.
Officials have repeatedly told Fathi’s family, including his wife and his brother, that he would be released soon. A few days after Fathi’s transfer to the general ward, officials told his brother that Fathi would be released within a few days. Later, Fathi’s wife wrote the authorities a letter asking for a visit with her husband, his brother told the Campaign. During the visit, prison authorities told her that her husband would be released on bail by the following week. “We had prepared ourselves for any bail amount, but we never heard about it again,” said Fathi’s brother.
“The family doesn’t know why he wasn’t released,” the source told the Campaign. “[Fathi’s] wife spoke with the judge in charge of his case. We don’t know what this was all about, but the entire family believes that he has not committed any crime. His background is quite clear. He served in the Iran-Iraq war front. Before the revolution, he spent time in Savak Prison. He is the brother of two war martyrs. He is a reporter for the government [press]. I hope he is released soon.”
Fathi has worked in government-affiliated publications such as Omid-e Javaanand Etela’at Haftegi.
“The [family’s] last visit with him was about two or three weeks ago, when he had just been transferred to the general ward. His wife, son, and daughter went to see him in person. He was in good shape on that day. Mr. Fathi served a few months in prison before the revolution, and he is not easily affected,” the source told the Campaign.