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Iranian Journalist-Filmmaker Summoned Back To Prison


Mohammad Nourizad in 2008

Mohammad Nourizad in 2008

Iranian filmmaker and journalist Mohammad Nourizad has been summoned to Evin prison two months after having been released, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Nourizad told RFE/RL in a phone interview before he went back to prison on August 18 that he was called by officials and told to return to Evin prison as soon as possible.

Nourizad was arrested late last year after publishing several open letters on his blog that were deemed disrespectful to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior officials.

He was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison and 50 lashes on unclear charges, but released from prison on June 24.

He recently wrote another public letter on his blog that was addressed to Khamenei.

Nourizad said he was returning to prison because "Iran is beautiful" and he loved his country. It's not clear why he was summoned by officials.

"We all try to regain those beauties that have been taken away from our people. We are demanding a peaceful transformation, changing things in society that have been away from beauty for a while," he said.

Nourizad said he thought he was asked to return to prison because of the latest letter he addressed to Khamenei. But he said there was nothing unusual in the letter. He believes the questions he posed to Khamenei are fully acceptable according to Islamic traditions.

"I wrote the kindest letter to my dear supreme leader," Nourizad told RFE/RL. "I addressed some of his behavior, decisions, and mistakes. I told him that on 'judgment day,' [Khamenei] will answer for all his mistakes and incorrect policies," he said.

Nourizad said he might be beaten when he returns to prison.

"Yes, it is possible that I will be beaten as they did before," he said. "They will show contempt for me as they did before. It is possible that they will push my head into a toilet and kick my body, as they did to some of my friends in prison. If we want to reform our society, we have to pay the cost."

Nourizad formerly worked for the conservative newspaper "Kayhan" and said he fully supported Khamenei until the conflict surrounding last year's controversial presidential election caused him to speak out against the government.

He has called on Khamenei to dismiss President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
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