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Iran's Evin prison
A former Iranian parliament deputy has called for the government to examine its handling of an investigation into abuse at a Tehran prison, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Ali Akbar Mosavi Khoeni spoke to Radio Farda on July 1 about the case at Kehrizak prison, the site of the alleged abuse of hundreds of protesters arrested in the aftermath of Iran's disputed presidential election in June 2009.

All but one of the prison workers tried for the alleged abuse were convicted on June 30, with two of them being sentenced to death.

But human rights advocates say most of those convicted received light sentences considering the degree of the alleged abuse. Nine of those convicted will face brief jail terms, fines, whipping, and temporary removal from their jobs.

Khoeni, a former parliament deputy, said Iran's Assembly of Experts and the Islamic Consultative Assembly should look into the conduct of the Kherizak investigation. He noted some of the government entities allegedly involved in the Kherizak abuse have links to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Khoeni believes a thorough examination of the Kherizak case is essential to prevent future prison abuse. He noted that similar complaints of abuse have come from Tehran's Evin prison.

"Many in Evin have submitted written complaints describing the severe torture they have experienced and imploring the authorities to take action," he said.

But Khoeni noted that at Evin prison, like at Kherizak, authorities have yet to fully understand and address the issue of prisoner abuse. "The pattern [of abuse at Evin] is continuing in the same manner," Khoeni said.

While in parliament, Khoeni was involved in investigations of prison abuse incidents. He himself was jailed in Evin prison for several months in 2006.
Journalist Eynulla Fatullayev in court
European public service broadcasters today called on all governments to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

They made that call in a declaration adopted at a General Assembly of the European Broadcasting Union, which was held in Azerbaijan.

The declaration goes on to condemn arrests, harassment, and intimidation of journalists, and also calls on governments to bring to justice those responsible for attacks on reporters.

It also raises EU concerns about various cases in Azerbaijan in which journalists and other individuals exercising their universal right of freedom of expression have been prosecuted on questionable grounds.

In April, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Azerbaijan should release journalist Eynulla Fatullayev from jail and pay him 25,000 euros in moral damages.

Fatullayev was jailed for 8 1/2 years in 2007 for terrorism, inciting interethnic hatred, and tax evasion. He was also found guilty at a separate
trial earlier the same year of "giving wrong information" about the killings of Azerbaijani civilians in 1992 in the village of Khojaly during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In late December 2009, prison guards at the labor camp where Fatullayev is serving his prison term found 0.22 grams of heroin in his pockets and shoes. Fatullayev says the drugs were planted by camp guards.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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