Iran tem­po­rar­ily re­leases hunger-strik­ing jour­nal­ist

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Iran has tem­po­rar­ily re­leased a jour­nal­ist for med­i­cal treat­ment af­ter he be­came sick fol­low­ing a hunger strike, lo­cal me­dia re­ported yes­ter­day. Eh­san Mazandarani, who runs re­formist daily news­pa­per Farhikhte­gan, was ar­rested in late 2015 and sen­tenced in April to seven years for “act­ing against na­tional se­cu­rity”.

“The health of my client, due to a hunger strike he was on, turned bad and he was trans­ferred to hos­pi­tal,” his lawyer Hooshang Pourbabayi told the ISNA news agency. Mazandarani’s wife, Mal­i­heh Hos­seini, told lo­cal me­dia that a doc­tor at Tehran’s no­to­ri­ous Evin prison re­ported con­cerns over the jour­nal­ist’s health.

“We were told to go to Evin prison and take my hus­band to hos­pi­tal,” she told the re­formist-linked ILNA news agency, adding that he had suf­fered bleed­ing in the stom­ach and his blood sugar level had plunged.

Four other jour­nal­ists are thought to have been ar­rested around the same time as Mazandarani and have been given sen­tences rang­ing from two to 10 years. The elite Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards claimed to have dis­rupted an “in­fil­tra­tion net­work linked to hos­tile West­ern gov­ern­ments”. That fol­lowed warn­ings by supreme leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei against “in­fil­tra­tion” by West­ern me­dia.

Mazandarani’s lawyer said he had heard that his client’s sen­tence has been re­duced to two years, but had no of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion.

Mazandarani was pre­vi­ously ar­rested in 2009 for act­ing against na­tional se­cu­rity and hav­ing con­tacts with for­eign­ers as protests swept the coun­try fol­low­ing the dis­puted re-elec­tion of hard­line pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad. Jour­nal­ists in Iran fre­quently face pros­e­cu­tion. Ja­son Reza­ian, the Wash­ing­ton Post’s Tehran correspondent and a dual Ira­nian-Amer­i­can cit­i­zen, was ar­rested in July 2014 and con­victed last year of es­pi­onage and other charges.

He was freed in Jan­uary this year as part of a pris­oner swap be­tween Iran and the United States that saw sev­eral Ira­ni­ans re­leased. — AFP

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