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Jailed Iranian Journalist Subjected To 'Inhumane Treatment'

Iranian journalist Isa Saharkhiz in an updated photo
Iranian journalist Isa Saharkhiz in an updated photo
The family of jailed Iranian journalist Isa Saharkhiz has written to Iran's judiciary chief to complain that he is being subjected to "inhumane treatment," RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Saharkhiz is a member of the central council of the Association for the Defense of Press Freedom. He is serving a three-year sentence on charges of "insulting Iran's supreme leader" and "spreading propaganda against the regime."

Saharkhiz was arrested in July 2009 during the post-presidential-election crackdown. He has been deprived of phone calls and family visits for the past year and denied furlough for the past 27 months, according to his family.

In their letter to Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, Saharkhiz's relatives say they are complaining not that he was handed an unjust sentence or that he was transferred to another prison without a judicial order, but because "the law is not being observed during the implementation of the sentence."

Saharkhiz's son Mehdi told RFE/RL that his father's health was deteriorating. He said his father's blood pressure had been fluctuating wildly and he had fainted several times as a result. Saharkhiz also suffers from a slipped disc and has developed a tumor that might be cancerous, Mehdi Saharkhiz said.

Mehdi Saharkhiz said that prison officials not only subjected his father to physical violence but also encouraged prisoners who are drug addicts to attack him by promising them drugs in return.

Mehdi Saharkhiz said the Iranian authorities "want to put my father's life on the line" because of the grudge Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei holds against him.

Isa Saharkhiz previously filed a complaint against Khamenei, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, and chief prosecutor Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei. He said the official results proclaiming Ahmadinejad the winner of the 2009 election were a "big lie" supported by Khamenei.

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