Prisoners of Conscience Recalled from Furlough, Journalists Threatened in Tehran
Two journalists and a blogger previously released on furlough have been recalled to prison and are expected to turn themselves in today, and imprisoned lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh’s promised furlough has not been granted. Security forces have also recently summoned several other journalists in Tehran and have made telephone calls warning them not to support a candidate supported by reformists, a local journalist told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
The source added that there has also been one journalist arrest but did not provide further details about the case. According to a post on the Facebook page of Sotoudeh’s husband Reza Khandan, officials have not granted the furlough request for the human rights activist currently inside Evin Prison, despite earlier promises.
Bahman Ahmadi Amouee and Massoud Bastani, two journalists furloughed on bail in March, were recalled to prison in the past few days and will have to turn themselves in by this afternoon, May 21. Jila Baniyaghoub and Mahsa Amrabadi, also journalists and the wives of the two men, are being held at Evin Prison’s Women’s Ward. The couples were allowed visits with each other last Sunday inside Evin Prison.
Bahman Ahmadi Amouee, an economics reporter with reformist newspapers, was arrested in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential elections and sentenced to five years and four months in prison. Massoud Bastani, a political reporter with reformist newspapers, was arrested on July 14, 2009, and sentenced to six years in prison.
Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, a dissident blogger and human rights activist on medical furlough since fall 2012, has also been recalled to Evin Prison and must turn himself in today. “Let me share something personal with you: going to prison is a strange experience. I tell my mother that it won’t make any difference whether it is today or tomorrow. For the one who has got to go, it won’t matter whether he goes one hour sooner or later. She says, ‘You don’t get it! It makes a difference to me!’ Her smiling face gets sad again,” Ronaghi Maleki wrote on his Facebook page. Ronaghi Maleki suffers from kidney disease and bladder and prostate inflammation, and is currently under medical treatment.
The IRGC Intelligence Unit arrested Hossein Ronaghi Maleki following the 2009 presidential elections, and Judge Pirabbasi of Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to 15 years in prison. While on prison furlough in fall 2012, Ronaghi Maleki volunteered at an earthquake relief camp and was one of several volunteers arrested by Tabriz police forces. According to a new ruling by Branch 112 of Tabriz General Courts about the West Azerbaijan earthquake relief camp, he was sentenced to an additional six months in prison on charges of “threatening public hygiene through distribution of moldy bread” and “disobeying an officer.”
Reza Khandan, Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband, wrote on his Facebook page that judicial authorities had previously promised Sotoudeh that she would be released on furlough in a manner that would lead to her permanent release. The promise has not been fulfilled. “Three weeks ago, they started a new game with Nasrin. They gave her a definitive promise for furlough that would lead to permanent release. With what happened yesterday, it became clear that, as usual, these promises are some type of psychological game with the prisoner and her family, and nothing more than a lie,” Khandan wrote on his Facebook page.
Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested on September 4, 2010. A lower court sentenced her to 11 years in prison, 20 years’ ban on her legal practice, and 20 years’ ban on foreign travel. An appeals court reduced her sentence to six years in prison and 10 years’ ban on her legal practice.