Accessibility links

Breaking News

Watchdog

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.
Majid Tavakoli
Jailed Iranian student leader Majid Tavakoli has been transferred from Tehran's Evin prison to the nearby Rajaeeshahr prison, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Tavakoli's brother, Ali Tavakoli, told RFE/RL that neither Majid's lawyer nor his family were told that Majid had been transferred on August 15 to the prison in Karaj, which is 20 kilometers outside of Tehran.

"One of our friends from Rajaeeshahr prison told us that he saw Majid in the quarantine section," Ali Tavakoli told RFE/RL. "Our last contact with Majid was 22 days ago."

Ali Tavakoli said the family has no knowledge of Majid's health. They said he was one of 17 political prisoners who recently went on a hunger strike for several weeks.

At one point during the strike, Tavakoli was reportedly transferred to the hospital in Evin prison due to failing health.

Ali Tavakoli said that his parents are old and in poor health and therefore unable to visit the prison frequently.

Majid Tavakoli -- one of the most prominent symbols of Iran's embattled student movement -- was arrested in December 2009. His arrest came shortly after he accused the Iranian government of human rights abuses and of "enmity against democracy" during a rally at Tehran's Amirkabir University.

Rajaeeshahr has been described by some news organizations as a notorious prison, where political prisoners are often transfered as punishment.

Ali Tavakoli told RFE/RL that his brother has not been charged with any crime or sentenced.

Load more

About This Blog

"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.

Subscribe

Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More

XS
SM
MD
LG