Ill Journalist Could Be Released from Prison Under New Penal Code
“Mr. Samimi suffers from heart, stomach, and knee problems. He needs a peaceful and stress-free environment for his medical care, and returning to prison at his age is not good for him,” said the source, expressing hope that he would be released soon.
“Mr. Samimi has several charges for which he is serving six years in prison. If Article 134 of the new Islamic Penal Code is enforced in his case, he will be released soon,” said the source.
Kayvan Samimi, Editor-in-Chief of the banned newspaper Nameh, a member of the Society in Defense of Press Freedom, and a member of the Committee to Pursue Arbitrary Arrests and the Right to Education Committee, was arrested at his home on June 13, 2009, one day after the disputed presidential election. Branch 26 of Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Kayvan Samimi to six years in prison. He was transferred to Rajaee Shahr Prison in December 2009 along with several other political prisoners. Samimi went on multiple hunger strikes in prison to protest sub-standard prison conditions.
Despite repeated requests from Mr. Samimi’s family for his transfer to a hospital, the judicial authorities did not agree with his transfer until November 2013, when he was transferred to Tehran’s Heart Hospital for his intensified heart condition and arthritis. Earlier, the Tehran Prosecutor had stated that allowing him medical furlough “was dependent on certain other authorities’ permission.”
“His psychological state is a lot better than the first days after his hospitalization. His social interactions have improved, and thank God, his family can visit with him, of course in the presence of the soldiers guarding him,” the source told the Campaign.
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights, Mahnaz Parakand, lawyer and member of the Center for Human Rights Defenders elaborated on the potential effects of the new Islamic Penal Code on prisoners of conscience currently serving their sentences inside Iranian prisons. “According to the old Islamic Penal Code, if an individual was convicted of several crimes, he would have had to endure the [full] punishment for each and every one of the convictions. However, in the new Islamic Penal Code it is stipulated that if an individual is convicted of several crimes, he should only be sentenced for the charges with the heaviest punishment. We have had many individuals after the 2009 election who charged with several crimes such as “propaganda against the regime,” “assembly and collusion against national security,” and “insulting the Supreme Leader,” the total punishment for all these charges is more than 10 years in prison, but no court has yet enforced the new Islamic Penal Code in their cases. If the law is enforced in their cases, many of them should be released right now, or their sentences would be drastically reduced,” Mahnaz Parakand told the Campaign.
On January 17, 2014, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran asked the Iranian Judiciary and the Prisons Organization to enforce Article 134 of the new Islamic Penal Code in the cases of prisoners currently serving prison terms, and to allow them an early release.