Mohammad Hassan Fallahiya


The student journalist Mohammad Hassan Fallahiya was arrested in November 2006 for writing articles criticising the Iranian government and reportedly contacting opposition groups based overseas. Fallahiya was sentenced on 21 April 2007 following a judicial process in which, according to Amnesty International, he was not allowed legal representation.

He is currently serving a 3-year prison sentence with hard labour in Section 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran. PEN has recently invited Fallahiya to become an Honorary Member of the organisation and continues to call for his unconditional release on the grounds that his detention is a clear violation of his right to freedom of expression.

PEN is also deeply concerned for Fallahiya’s well-being and fears that he may be at risk of torture or ill-treatment. He suffers from sickle cell anaemia and is reportedly being denied the medical care he needs for his condition. The prison authorities have reportedly prevented Fallahiya’s family from bringing his medication to the prison and it is feared that his health may deteriorate further without adequate treatment.

At the time of his arrest, Fallahiya was a journalist and managing editor of Aqlam al-Talaba (The Students’ Pens), a student publication of Ahvaz University in Khuzestan province. He was also a correspondent for several Arab television and radio broadcasting news agencies including Abu Dhabi TV and Radio, and a journalist for the Lebanese al-Mustaqbal broadcasting corporation.

Fallahiya is a member of Iran’s Arab minority, many of whom live in the province of Khuzestan where there has been unrest since 2005 as a result of what the Arabs believe to be discrimination against and pressure upon them by the Persian population and leadership.

Censorship in Iran

Fallahiya’s imprisonment should be seen in the context of a recent crackdown by the Iranian authorities on dissident journalists, writers and academics more generally. PEN has become increasingly concerned that since President Mahmoud Ahmaninejad came to power in August 2005 censorship in Iran has become more prevalent and pervasive.

Censored content often includes information that relates to women’s rights, freedom of speech, democracy, sex and pornography, certain news sources and certain religious beliefs. Most forms of media are vetted for acceptability by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and Iran is now considered to have one of the most repressive Internet-censorship regimes in the world.

Appeals calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Mohammad Hassan Fallahiya should be sent to:

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Islamic Republic of Iran
(Salutation: Your Excellency)
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice
Panzdah Khordad (Ark) Square,
Islamic Republic of Iran.
(Salutation: Your Excellency)
Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie
Ministry of Intelligence,
Second Negarestan Street,
Pasdaran Avenue,
Islamic Republic of Iran
(Salutation: Dear Minister)
Copies to:
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency,
Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection,
Islamic Republic of Iran
(Salutation: Your Excellency)             
It may be most effective, however, to send the above appeals via Iran’s representative in London:
His Excellency Mr Rasoul Movahedian
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince’s Gate
London  SW7 1PT
Fax: ( 44)(0)20 7589 4440
(Salutation: Your Excellency)

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