An imprisoned Iranian journalist has been awarded the prestigious Golden Pen of Freedom award for 2010 by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).
Ahmad Zeidabadi was tried in August on charges of plotting to overthrow the regime with a "soft revolution" and sentenced to six years in prison and given a lifetime ban on practicing his profession. He was one of scores of journalists and activisits rounded up and tried by the authorities in Iran following the disputed presidential vote in June.
Zeidabadi first came to prominence in 2000 for an open letter he wrote from prison that protested the judiciary's treatment of imprisoned journalists. Despite efforts to suppress it, the letter was widely circulated.
"All journalists are aware of the dangers of challenging the autocratic regime of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and the actions of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei," the board of WAN-IFRA said in announcing the award. "Mr. Zeid-Abadi has chosen to repeatedly brave them and publicly support reform and the rule of law in Iran.
"Mr. Zeidabadi has refused to give in, despite the horrific conditions in which he is being held, and his courage makes us feel very humble. We hope Mr. Zeidabadi's sentence will be overturned."
The Golden Pen of Freedom recognizes the outstanding action, in writing and deed, of an individual, a group or an institution in the cause of press freedom.
WAN-IFRA is based in Paris and Darmstadt, Germany, and is a global organization of the world's newspapers and news publishers.