Journalists imprisoned in Iran ‘denied basic rights’: RSF
The organisation, which tracks and reports on global mistreatment of journalists, called on Wednesday for the international community to intervene in the detention of several prominent Iranian media workers.
Kayvan Samimi Behbahani, a 73-year-old editor of the monthly Iran Farda and president of the Association for the Defence of Press Freedom has been held in detention since December 2020 for “anti-government propaganda”.
He is serving a one-year sentence in Tehran’s infamous Evin prison, and in an audio message to RSF said he has been denied visiting rights and phone calls with his family since December as a punishment.
“Eleven of my fellow detainees and friends who help me to contact my family are being threatened,” Behbahani said.
Photojournalist Alieh Motalebzadeh, who is vice president of the association led by Behbahani, has been serving a three-year prison sentence since October 2020 for “meeting and conspiring against national security”.
She has also been forbidden visits since 7 September and cannot call her family.
“She has been given a two-month punishment by the Evin prison administration for joining other detainees in denouncing Coronavirus-related health problems in prison,” a prison officer told her husband.
Journalist Khosro Sadegi Borjeni was repeatedly denied medical care despite collapsing several times while in detention, his family said.
“We are very concerned about the situation of journalists imprisoned in Iran,” said Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Iran/Afghanistan desk.
“Under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is party, endangering the lives of detainees, denying them medical care or visiting rights, and isolating them constitute violations of the prohibition of torture and of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
Evin prison was the centre of controversy earlier this year after hacked videos of surveillance cameras appeared to show guards beating and abusing prisoners.
Rights groups have long reported on political prisoners who face “serious abuse” in prison wards controlled by Iran’s intelligence agencies, including “prolonged solitary confinement [and] use of blindfolds and torture”, according to prisoners’ accounts.