Latest ArticlesArchivesForumsRSS FeedGuestbookContact UsSearch


Iran Press Service (logo)


As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at http://wwwdamavandsafa.blogspot.com

EHSAFALI HEDAYAT GOES ON HUNGER STRIKE

Published Thursday, May 13, 2004



EHSAFALI HEDAYAT GOES ON HUNGER STRIKE-Body-2

TEHRAN 13 May (IPS) Ensafali Hedayat, the independent Iranian journalist who was jailed for 18 months after being convicted of insulting regime leaders and writing propaganda against the Islamic republic, has started a hunger strike, his family and lawyer, Mr. Mohammad Ali Daadkhaah announced.

"Ensafali Hedayat has been on hunger strike since Tuesday morning to protest the judiciary refusal to set him free on bail, as was decided by the court", Mr. Daadkhaah said, adding that the journalist has also refused to undergo an operation for his ulcer problem, though the physicians urged him to.

The revolutionary tribunal in the northwestern city of Tabriz, the capital city of Eastern Azarbaijan had condemned Hedayat on April 15, but decided to grant him bail until the Supreme Court confirmed his sentence.

In three recent letters to the Iranian nation, published by Iranian media outside and independent internet website inside the country, Mr. Hedayat strongly criticised the attitude of the Iranian decision-makers against the population and their disregard for human rights.

Daadkhaah added that there was no news of the confirmation of the sentence.

Both Mr. Daadkhaah and Ms. Fatemeh Hedayat, the daughter of the outspoken journalist said Mr. Hedayat needs urgent operation, but the authorities have refused to grant him necessary medical care, a proof that the ruling clerics, comforted by their recent victories at the Legislative elections, are determined to continue the crackdown on Iranian press and journalists.

In three recent letters to the Iranian nation, published by Iranian media outside and independent internet website inside the country, Mr. Hedayat strongly criticised the attitude of the Iranian decision-makers against the population and their disregard for human rights.

“I’m rejected because I refuse to be a yes men to the authorities, my pencil at their order”, he said in one of his latest open letter, adding what the senior officials are after is “people who all the time parrots what they would like to hear”.

“I’m rejected because I refuse to be a yes men to the authorities, my pencil at their order”, he said in one of his latest open letter, adding what the senior officials are after is “people who all the time parrots what they would like to hear”.

The Iranian Human Rights Defence Association run by the Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, said that Hedayat's detention is "illegal", and called for his freedom.

The Rome-based Association of Iranian Journalists Abroad (AIJA), in a strong worded fax to the leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamehe’i urgend him to immediately order the unconditional release of Mr. Hedayat and other journalists in prison.

“You personally will be hold responsible for the health and lives of Mr. Hedayat and other journalists, namely Mr. Siamak Pourzand, Hoda Saber, Reza Alijani, Taqi Rahmani and Akbar Ganji since your are directly controlling the Judiciary that, on your order, has placed thee people behind bars”, the AIJA said.

The international press watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders) also demanded the release of Mr. Hedayat and Mr. Pourzand, confirmed that Mr. Hedayat was not in a good condition and needs urgent medical treatments.

But neither of these demands were reproduced by Iranian media.

Mr. Hedayat was arrested on 16 January on his return to Tehran from a conference of Iranian Republicans in Berlin, which was attended by more than 800 Iranians from all over the world, including Iran itself and covered by many Iranian journalists working for Iranian medias abroad.

In its last hearing, the Tabriz Court dropped charges of espionage, but confirmed accusations of insulting the regime’s senior officials and propaganda against the Islamic Republic, charges that Mr. Hedayat rejected.

The 51 years-old Hedayat had already been arrested at the University of Tabriz in June 2003 following his coverage of student-led demonstrations. He had been accused of inciting anti-regime protests, but was freed after three weeks in custody.

He subsequently wrote a chilling letter to the embattled President Mohammad Khatami, informing him and the nation about maltreatment and tortures he was subject while in custody.

Following that letter, the authorities coerced local newspapers in not getting anything from Mr. Hedayat, forcing him to sell his house in Tehran and return to a one bedroom apartment in Tabriz, where he lives with his wife and two children.

To continue living as a journalist, “the only thing I know”, Mr. Hedayat took assignments for some foreign-based Iranian media like Radio Farda, the Persian service of Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty, officially banned by the Iranian authorities.

EHSAFALI HEDAYAT GOES ON HUNGER STRIKE-Body

In a statement released from its Paris Head Quarters, RSF voiced concern about the state of health of jailed 75-year-old Pourzand, deplored the 18-month prison sentence just passed on Mr. Hedayat and it voiced outrage at the UN Human Rights Commission's failure to condemn the Islamic Republic during its 60th session.

The organisation warned that Pourzand's life could be in great danger if he is not released immediately and given appropriate treatment. He has been paralysed for months and suffered a heart attack on 31 March that left him in a coma for 36 hours.

“The refusal to free him on medical grounds suggests that the authorities have failed to learn any lesson from the death of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi on 10 July 2003 from a beating received in detention”, the RSF said, calling for the release of all Iranian journalists currently imprisoned in Iran.

Pourzand was previously arrested on 24 November 2001 and sentenced in May 2002 to eight years in prison for "actions against state security and links with monarchists and counter-revolutionaries." He had been allowed home in December 2002 before been returned to prison in March 2003.

“The award of the title of “the best servant of the year” to Mr. Sa’id Mortazavi would be the height of absurdity if the situation were not so tragic," RSF said, adding that the Islamic Republic was just highlighting its arbitrary and repressive nature by celebrating this travesty of justice.

It was referring to the "Best Servant of the Year" award given by Iran’s leader to Mr. Mortazavi, who as head of a "press tribunal" has been responsible for the closure of more than 100 newspapers and publications and the arrests of many journalists, and who has been directly implicated in Kazemi's death.

On order of Mr. Khameneh'i, “awarded” by the RSF as “one of the world’s most dangerous pedators of press freedom”, Mortazavi was promoted Prosecutor of both Tehran and Islamic Revolution Court.

So far, there are bout 12 journalists in prison.

"Amid these sinister developments, it is outrageous that none of the member countries of the UN Human Rights Commission, not even the countries of the European Union, has until now tabled a resolution condemning Iran", Reporters Without Borders added. ENDS HEDAYAT HUNGER STRIKE 13504

 

Comments on this page are closed.



As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at http://wwwdamavandsafa.blogspot.com





LATEST ARTICLES








Announcement

Want to express an opinion?
Participate in our user forums.

Impressions from our site?
Share them in our Guest Book.

Got Feedback?
Send a letter to the editor.

 





Powered by the Big Medium content management system. sitemap xml