Iran: Journalist Emadeddin Baqi detained

***UPDATE: English PEN welcomes the release of leading journalist Emadeddin Baqi. According to our information, he was provisionally released from Evin Prison on 15 September 2008 to undergo medical treatment, and days later, on 20 October, he learned that he had been granted a definitive release on expiry of his sentence. English PEN would like to thank all those who sent appeals on his behalf.***

*** UPDATE: English PEN is deeply concerned about reports that leading journalist and human rights defender Emadeddin Baqi suffered a heart attack in prison on 26 December 2007. According to our information, Baqi was briefly hospitalised for emergency treatment, but then returned to prison, where he is said to be held incommunicado and in solitary confinement in section 209 of Tehran‘s Evin prison. English PEN continues to call on the Iranian authorities to release Baqi immediately and unconditionally on humanitarian grounds. At a minimum, we seek assurances of his health and guarantees that he is being given access to all necessary medical care as a matter of urgency. ***

English PEN protests the detention of leading journalist and human rights defender Emadeddin Baqi, and urgently seeks assurances of his well-being.

According to PEN’s information, Emadeddin Baqi was arrested on 14 October 2007 at the Security Unit of the General and Revolutionary Public Prosecutor’s Office after he responded to a summons. He is believed to have been charged with ‘propaganda against the regime’ and ‘publishing secret government documents’ for his activities as president of the Society for the Defense of Prisoners’ Rights, an organisation that he founded in 2003. Whilst his family was posting bail, Evin prison authorities arrived at the courthouse and announced that Baqi was required to serve a one-year suspended sentence that had been previously given in December 2003, and he was immediately transferred to jail.

It is claimed that Baqi is held incommunicado and in solitary confinement in section 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison. PEN believes he is at risk of ill-treatment and we call on the Government to ensure that he is given access to his lawyers, family and any medical care he requires. PEN believes that Baqi is detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression, and calls on the Iranian authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally.

Baqi has a history of political imprisonment and persecution. According to his family he has been summoned to court twenty three times in the past four years alone. He was first imprisoned on 29 May 2000 after being convicted on several counts including ‘threatening national security;’ and ‘spreading unsubstantiated news stories’ in his critical writings. Baqi was then sentenced to five and a half years in prison of which he reportedly served two years.

In November 2003, he was charged with ‘endangering national security’ and ‘publishing lies’ in a series of articles published in the reformist press, and with implicating Iranian officials in the 1998 murders of a number of intellectuals and dissidents in his book, The Tragedy of Democracy in Iran. Baqi was sentenced on 4 December 2003 to one year in jail, suspended for five years. On 17 October 2004, the suspended character of the prison sentence was reportedly lifted, and he subsequently launched an appeal against the judgement. On 2 February 2005, the one-year prison sentence was upheld and his appeal was rejected. However the sentence was not enforced until now, for reasons that remain unclear.

Please send appeals:

• Protesting the detention of journalist and human rights activist Emadeddin Baghi, 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;
• Expressing serious concerns about reports that he is being ill-treated in detention, and seeking guarantees of his well-being and demanding that he is given full access to his family, lawyers and any necessary medical care immediately.

Appeals to:


Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street
Islamic Republic of Iran

Head of the Judiciary
His Excellency
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice
Park-e Shahr
Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Intelligence
Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie
Ministry of Intelligence
Second Negarestan Street
Pasdaran Avenue
Islamic Republic of Iran

You may also send copies to:

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: via Foreign Ministry: 98 21 6 674 790
(mark: “Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad”)

It may be most effective to forward all the above appeals care of the Iranian representative in London:

H.E. Mr Rasoul Movahedian
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince’s Gate
London SW7 1PT
Fax: 0207 589 4440 

Originally posted with the url:

About English PEN staff

This content is published by the English PEN staff.

View all posts by English PEN staff →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *