Critical Speech Lands Journalist-Activist in Jail
In its statement the Revolutionary Prosecutor’s office claimed the arrest was related to an earlier one-year prison sentence for “security crimes.”
On February 27, Razavi Faghih delivered a speech to a gathering of reformists in Hamadan in which he made “comments against the Council of Guardians, Assembly of Experts, the Majles, and some state leaders.” The state news agency IRNA broadcast the speech.
The IRNA report added that after the speech, people in Hamadan and a group of clerics demanded that the Judiciary take action against Razavi Faghih.
Fars news agency, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, reported that Razavi Faghih became a “fugitive” when he learned of his prison sentence. Razavi Faghih denied he had been escaping from justice.
“First of all the normal process would have been to first issue a warrant, which they have not so far,” he told Ensaf news. “Secondly, how did they assume that I’m a fugitive? Why should I run away from justice? I came back to my country in 2011 while I knew what dangers and limitations were awaiting me.”
Conservative websites have published parts of Razavi Faghih’s February 27 speech. According to these reports, he made reference to the upheavals following the controversial presidential elections in 2009, and rejected official claims that the dispute over its outcome was over.
“If this is a closed case, why are people still out on the street demanding the protest leaders’ release [from house arrest]?” he was quoted as saying. “The problem has been removed from view, but remains unresolved.”
Razavi Faghih has been a prominent critic through his writings in several reformist newspapers in the past decade. He was detained in 2003 as a member of Yas-e-Now newspaper’s editorial board for objecting to a death sentence issued against reformist Hashem Aghajari.
During Ahmadinejad’s presidency, Razavi Faghih went to France to study for his PhD, but after his return in 2011 Iranian authorities confiscated his passport and detained him temporarily.