This week, journalist Jila Baniyaghoub arrived at Evin Prison to begin serving her one-year sentence, and prisoners of conscience Massoud Bastani and Kayvan Samimi were transferred to solitary cells at Rajaee Shahr Prison for unknown reasons.
Baniyaghoub was arrested on June 20, 2009, along with her husband, Bahman Ahmadi Amoueee, at their home. Sixty days later, she was released on bail. In June 2010, she was sentenced to one year in prison and a 30-year ban on journalistic activities on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” based on her writings in her personal blog, “We are Journalists,” where she wrote her opinions and analysis of the 2009 pre- and post-election events.
Prior to her arrest, Baniyaghoub served as editor with several reformist newspapers, such as Vaghaye Ettefaghieh and Sarmayeh. She was also Editor-in-Chief of the Center for Iranian Women website. In 2009, she won the Courage in Journalism Prize of the International Women’s Media Foundation, as well as the International Prize for Freedom of Expression. Baniyaghoub was also the 2010 recipient of Reporters Without Borders’ Freedom of Speech Award.
On September 4, journalists Kayvan Samimi and Massoud Bastani were abruptly transferred to solitary cells inside Shahid Rajaee Prison. Kaleme website reported that prison forces stormed the General Ward and moved the two men to solitary cells, but the reasons for the transfer are not yet known.
Samimi, journalist and former Manager of now-banned publication Nameh, was arrested on June 13, 2009, and sentenced to six years in prison and a lifetime ban on political activities, on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” and “assembly and collusion against national security” on February 2, 2010. Samimi, 65, suffers from knee and leg pain, and his family’s repeated requests for medical furlough for him have not been successful.
Massoud Bastani, a political journalist and Editor-in-Chief of now-banned Jomhouriyat website, was arrested on July 5, 2009, and was later sentenced to six years in prison. His wife, journalist Mahsa Amrabadi, is currently at Evin Prison, serving her one-year prison sentence on charges of “propaganda against the regime.”