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Iranian Activists Face Arbitrary Justice While In Jail

Emadedin Baghi, founder of the Society to Defend Prisoners' Rights
Emadedin Baghi, founder of the Society to Defend Prisoners' Rights
Lawyers and relatives of activists jailed in Iran's 2009 postelection crackdown have described an arbitrary justice system keeping those jailed in legal limbo, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Mohammad Davari, Akbar Karami, Mohammad Olyaeefard, Emadedin Baghi, and Navid Khanjani have all been imprisoned for their political activities since Iran's disputed presidential election 11 months ago.

The cases of the five men offer a portrayal of the situation facing dozens of other Iranian activists who also remain imprisoned.

The fate of Davari -- a teacher and activist -- is unclear, lawyer Zhinous Sharifrazi told Radio Farda. Davari was arrested in September. While his interrogation has ended, he remains incarcerated in the notorious Section 209 of Tehran's Evin prison with no decision having been taken on his case.

After more than five months in jail, the case of Karami, a physician and political analyst, has seen little progress. Karami's wife told Radio Farda
that he was allowed no visitors until last week.

Olyaeefard, a lawyer who has represented jailed activists, was arrested recently. His lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, told Radio Farda that this is the second time Olyaeefard has been "illegally arrested." Sotoudeh said the first time he was taken to Evin prison in chains in March 2009.

Baghi, a noted journalist and founder of the Society to Defend Prisoners' Rights, has been imprisoned for more than three months. There has been no change in his case so far, according to his family. Baghi has spent four years in prison over the past decade for his campaigning against capital punishment and other human rights-related activities.

Even jailed activists who have been recently released remain under pressure from authorities.

Sepehr Atefi of the nongovernmental organization Committee of Human Rights Reporters told Radio Farda that fellow committee member Navid Khanjani was released from prison on some $50,000 bail but remains under the surveillance of security forces.