Profession: Researcher and journalist. Director of the Ali Shariati Research Centre and contributing editor of the newspaper Iran-e Farda, banned in April 2000.
Date of arrest: 5 August 2000
Sentence: 7 years
Expires: October 2007
Details of arrest: Eshkevari was arrested at his home, a few hours after he flew into Tehran from a trip to Europe. He was one of a number of Iranian writers, journalists and academics who attended a conference at the Heinrich Böll Institute in Berlin on 7-9 April 2000 entitled “Iran after the elections”, at which political and social reform in Iran were publicly debated. Eshkevari reportedly learned that a warrant had been issued for his arrest shortly after the conference, and had since been staying in Germany and France. Many other prominent Iranian intellectuals who attended the Berlin conference were arrested and charged.
Details of trial: Eshkevari’s trial was held behind closed doors from 7-17 October 2000 in the Special Court for the Clergy. He is believed to have been convicted of “acting against national security” in connection with a speech he gave at the conference, “defaming government officials in articles”, “starting a campaign against the system”, and “denying and insulting the holy religion of Islam”. He was also additionally charged with “declaring war on God”, “being corrupt on earth”, and apostasy, all of which carry the death penalty, but the latter three charges were overturned. New charges of ‘propaganda against the Islamic Republic’ and ‘insulting top-rank officials’ were filed against him at the Special Court for the Clergy, for which he received a sentence of seven years’ imprisonment on 17 October 2002 – five of which he will have to serve.
Health concerns: Eshkevari is an insulin-dependent diabetic, and there are unconfirmed reports that he has been unable to obtain insulin in custody. His son allegedly wrote to the Special Court for the Clergy on 20 June 2002 to request that a medical team be allowed to examine his father. The SCC reportedly rejected the request the next day.
Place of detention: Transferred to Prison 59, a military detention centre, in April 2001. Held incommunicado until mid-July 2001.
Other information: Adopted by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in 2001.
Honorary member of: Canadian, Danish, Ghanaian, American and English PEN Centres.
Released: 6 February 2005
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/writersinexile/hojjatoleslamhasanyousefieshke/