Imprisoned Iranian journalist Issa Saharkhiz was released on Thursday, October 3, two months short of completing his prison sentence. “I was informed by my family that my father received his release letter from the hospital. They will now have to complete his paperwork in order to take him home from the hospital,” his son Mehdi Saharkhiz told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
According to Mehdi Saharkhiz, his father had only two more months of his sentence left to serve. Following a deterioration in his health conditions, the journalist was transferred to Tehran’s Heart Hospital in February 16, 2012, where he had stayed since.
Issa Saharkhiz, a journalist and political activist, was arrested on July 3, 2009. Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Salavati sentenced him to three years in prison, five years’ ban on political and journalistic activities, and one year’s ban on foreign travel on charges of “insulting the Supreme Leader” and “propagating against the regime.” Saharkhiz was sentenced to an additional two years on August 5, 2011. His new sentence was related to charges raised against him when he was the licensee for Akhbar-e Eghtesadi Newspaper in 2000, the same year the newspaper was banned. Six years after the ban, the first trial session of Issa Saharkhiz as licensee for the newspaper was held on June 15, 2006, for charges of “publishing untruths,” “insulting the holy Islam,” “libel,” “publishing falsehoods,” “propagating against the regime,” and “insulting state authorities.” But the case was kept dormant until June 2011, when another court session was held after six years. Saharkhiz was sentenced to two years in prison, a sentence that was later reduced to 1.5 years at the appeals stage.
In his last interview with the Campaign, Mehdi Saharkhiz said, “My father had no health issues prior to prison, but when he was transferred to Imam Khomeini Hospital for the first time after his arrest, the doctors prescribed 23 different kinds of medication for him, including pills, capsules, and injections. He did not use any medication prior to that.”