Accessibility links

Breaking News

Iranian Journalist, Political Activist Imprisoned Again

November 14, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian officials have again imprisoned Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, the head of Iran's Democratic Front and the publisher of a now-banned weekly newspaper, "Payam-e Daneshjou-ye Basiji."

Tabarzadi, 47, was originally accused by Tehran's Revolutionary Court on charges of forming Iran's Democratic Front, defaming Iran's supreme leader, distributing anti-establishment propaganda, and "disturbing public opinion."

He had been free on parole after serving several years in prison, but was asked on November 11 to report to a local court. He was arrested there and taken to Tehran's Evin prison.

Tabarzadi's 18-year-old son, Hossein Tabarzadi, told Radio Farda that representatives of the Revolutionary Court told Tabarzadi to report to the court to speak to the judge in his case.

"My father went to the court with this request in mind, but without being able to talk to the judge or anyone else, he was taken to Evin prison by a soldier who put handcuffs on him," Hossein Tabarzadi said.

Tabarzadi was initially sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment in exile in the southern Iranian city of Borazjan. His sentence was later reduced by a higher court to seven years.

Tabarzadi was held in solitary confinement in detention centers belonging to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and in Evin prison's section 209, which is run by Iran's Intelligence Ministry.

Tabarzadi claims that he has served his full sentence, but the authorities disagree, he told Radio Farda after he was released from jail last year.

"I have a document that I received from the prison last year called 'Proclamation On The Prisoner's Situation'...and it states that all of the time I served during my various detentions would mean that my current term would have ended on August 30, 2007," he said. "But the Intelligence Ministry tells me 'you still have six more years to serve.'"

"Because of this, in the past year, during which I have been out of the prison, I was put on 'conditional parole.' In my own opinion, I am not on parole any more and I am free -- but from the Intelligence Ministry's perspective, I am still a prisoner and the condition for my being outside [the prison] is not to talk and to remain silent," Tabarzadi said.

Emad Baqi, the head of the Association in Defense of Prisoners' Rights in Iran, was also summoned to a Revolutionary Court in Tehran and jailed on October 14 to begin serving a one-year prison sentence that had until then been suspended.

RFE/RL Iran Report

RFE/RL Iran Report

SUBSCRIBE For regular news and analysis on Iran by e-mail, subscribe to "RFE/RL Iran Report."