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Prominent Iranian Journalist Jailed For Three Years


An undated photo of Isa Saharkhiz

An undated photo of Isa Saharkhiz

Prominent Iranian journalist Isa Saharkhiz is reported to have been jailed for three years on charges of insulting Iran's supreme leader and spreading propaganda against the regime.

Opposition websites, including sahamnews.org, reported on September 28 that Saharkhiz has also been banned from engaging in political and journalistic activities for five years and from leaving Iran for one year after his release.

A member of the central council of the Association for the Defense of Press Freedom, Saharkhiz was arrested in July 2009 during the crackdown that followed Iran's disputed presidential election.

Saharkhiz had filed a complaint against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, and Chief Prosecutor Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei during a court session on July 18.

In his defense, Saharkhiz said that the official election results giving Ahmadinejad victory were a "big lie" supported by Khamenei.

Saharkhiz also referred to the violent treatment of protesters by police and plainclothes forces. "It is highly unlikely that they acted arbitrarily," he said, "If so, the role and duty of the supreme leader would be called into question."

He added that according to Article 111 of Iran's Constitution, this is a testament to the supreme leader's inability to fulfill his duty and necessitates his dismissal.

Last month, Saharkhiz filed a lawsuit against Nokia Siemens, accusing the company of delivering surveillance equipment to Iran that helped the authorities trace his whereabouts through his cell phone.

Saharkhiz is currently being held in Rajaeeshahr prison, west of Tehran. His family says he is in poor health.
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