For Immediate ReleaseIran: End Abuse of Imprisoned JournalistsQuash Politically Motivated Convictions and Release Them(New York, July 13, 2012) – Iranian authorities should immediately put an end to the mistreatment of two prominent imprisoned journalists and provide them with necessary medical care, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch again called on authorities to quash the men’s convictions, which violate their freedom of expression, and release them unconditionally.
Mohammad Sadigh Kaboudvand, a leading advocate of Kurdish rights in Iran, is serving a 10-and-a-half-year sentence on politically motivated charges. He began a hunger strike in Tehran’s Evin prison on May 26, 2012, to protest prison authorities’ denial of his repeated requests to visit his adult son, Pejman, who is seriously ill with a blood condition. Bahman Ahmadi-Amoui, a journalist affiliated with numerous reformist publications, had been serving a five-year prison sentence in the same ward but was transferred to a prison in the city of Karaj on June 12, apparently as punishment for marking the anniversary of the death of another hunger-striking prisoner.
“Kaboudvand has already suffered five years of abuse, ill-treatment, and neglect simply because he chose to speak out against injustice,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Denying him even temporary leave to see his seriously ill son is an unnecessarily callous act by Iranian authorities.”
Kaboudvand himself suffers from ill health, including a serious heart condition. His wife told Human Rights Watch that his condition has deteriorated drastically as a result of the hunger strike. Ahmadi-Amoui’s family has been informed that prison officials are holding him in incommunicado solitary confinement as punishment. His family has not seen him since his transfer and is worried about his psychological and physical health.
Kaboudvand was a 2009 recipient and Ahmadi-Amoui was a 2011 recipient of Human Rights Watch’s Hellmann-Hammett award, which recognizes writers for their commitment to free expression and their courage in the face of political persecution.
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Iran, please visit:http://www.hrw.org/middle-eastn-africa/iran