Iran: Imprisoned journalist Ali Farahbakshs seriously ill

***UPDATE: English PEN has received reports that journalist Ali Farahbakhsh was released from prison on 9 October 2007. According to PEN’s information, he was released conditionally after serving ten months of his prison sentence, which had previously been reduced from three years to sixteenth months. PEN warmly welcomes the news of his release but we remain deeply concerned that he has not been fully acquitted. PEN reiterates its calls for his full and unconditional release, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a signatory. ***


English PEN is seriously concerned by reports that Ali Farahbakhsh‘s health is rapidly deteriorating in detention and that he is denied necessary medical treatment.
According to PEN’s information, Ali Farahbakhsh, a former economics and foreign affairs reporter for the banned reformist dailies Yas-e No, Shargh and Sobh-e Emrooz, is seriously ill in prison.  His family reports that he suffers from kidney and digestive problems, and the authorities have reportedly prevented him from having access to his medication since the beginning of May 2007.
Ali Farahbakhsh was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of ‘espionage’ and ‘stealing from foreigners’ on 26 March 2007.  The charges are believed to be based on his attendance of a conference organised by a Thai human rights organisation on Government and the media in November 2006 in Bangkok, Thailand. He was first arrested on 27 November 2006 on his return from the conference, but his arrest was not made public until 6 January 2007.  He is among a number of prominent Iranian writers and human activists to have been targeted in connection with their attendance at international conferences in recent months. The head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Shahrudi, reportedly authorised a bail order to be issued for Farahbakhsh’s release some weeks ago, but in spite of this he remains detained. He has been held in section 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison since his arrest and has spent periods in solitary confinement.
Please send appeals:
–    Expressing concern about reports that Ali Farahbakash is very ill and denied access to medical care;
–    Seeking assurances that he is given unrestricted access to medical treatment and is being treated humanely in detention.
–    Protesting the three-year prison sentence given to Ali Farahbakhsh, and calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a signatory;


Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: ,
Head of the Judiciary
His Excellency
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email:   via Judiciary website:
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency,
Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: Via Foreign Ministry: 98 21 6 674 790
(mark: “Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad”)
via website:
It may be more effective to send appeals via Iranian representatives in London:


H.E. Mr Rasoul Movahedian
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince’s Gate
London SW7 1PT
Fax: (020) 7589 4440

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