August 22, 2004

Biography

Born into a family who were in exile in Iraq, because of his father being a political activist against the Shah, Emadeddin Baghi since his birth in April 1962, has always been engaged in the troubles and discomfort caused by social and political activities. A year later on returning back to Iran, the father of the family, who was an entrepreneur, was arrested on arrival. As the result of this he became bankrupted and the family moved to a deprived district of the capital, Tehran.
Baghi began his social and political activity by organising a group, called Maysam, and was quite active during the years which led to the revolution in 1979.
After the revolution he pursued teaching in high schools, and then moved to the city of Qom to study theology, which lasted for 12 years. At the same time he started studying sociology academically, and was graduated from Alaame Tabataba’ei with an MA degree.
Baghi started his journalistic career as a writer in 1983, since then he has worked with several newspapers and magazines, mostly on social and political issues. With the rise of the reformist movement in 1996 which led to the presidency Mohammad Khatami, he worked with several reformist newspapers as writer consultant and editor, all of which were banned one after the other by the authoritarian forces.
Before being sent to prison for writing articles against execution charges and death sentences, he was the Chief editor of Fath newspaper, in which he wrote articles on democratic reading of religion and also against what became known as the serial killings of the political and intellectual opponents. The trial court sentenced him to 7.5 years imprisonment. This was reduced to 3 years by the court of last resort, and as the result he was released from prison in February 2003.
Before the presidency of Mohammad Khatami, Baghi was teaching at university but after eight years of teaching due to the pressure from security forces and because of the open discussions he had in his classes he was dismissed from teaching and was summoned to the court. Baghi considers himself as a researcher and writer. Having his first book published in 1983, he has published around 20 books (six of which are currently banned) and considerable number of articles religious, historical and sociological issues.
Baghi has established the association for defending prisoners’ right, an active human-right NGO, he is also a member of the Central committee for defending the freedom of the press in Iran.
One of his last attempts, along with his research and scientific activities, was to found Jomhooriyat newspaper. In this newspaper there were some special pages on human rights, trade unions and civil institutions, which are generally regarded as new innovative steps by journalists in Iran as a way of presenting these issues to the public and making them aware of these subjects. This newspaper is currently temporary banned by the judiciary, demanding his dismissal as the chief editor.
All the activities carried out by Baghi is carefully monitored by the judiciary and the authoritarians as an example since his release from the prison in 2003 he has been arraigned before the court to answer charges made against him because of his writings or speeches in defense of human and civil rights in Iranian society. He is currently sentence to one year suspended imprisonment and payment of 1,000,000 Rials for his writings and speeches.
After the first release from Prison
Emaddedin Baghi was released in the winter of 2002after enduring three years of imprisonment. After his release, he was faced with two paths. One was political activity and utilization of the position afforded to him as a political prisoner, which could have involved him in political games. The other was taking the reclusive route of research. The first path would have endangered him while the second would have taken him away from any societal activities. For Baghi, however, danger was not important but he did not want to engage in activities at any prices, particularly the price of entering the sphere of political activism and factional political. He chose a third path.
He was not interested in secluding himself even if involvement endangered him but was not interested in making noise and commotion. His most important plan was the realization of an idea that had taken shape in his mind while in prison. Prison had opened Baghi’s eyes to the harsh reality of imprisonment not only for political but also regular prisoners that had been accused and convicted for a variety of reasons. In prison, for his own defense, Baghi had begun studying laws and legal texts. Along with his brother, he had translated a book entitled “The American Judiciary” about the judicial system in the United States and with the study of historical and religious texts had developed more interest in the rights of prisoners as the most important human rights achievement of the modern world. As a result, and after much effort, he established an association in defense of prisoners’ rights and entered the civil society sphere.
The most important tenets of this association were:
1. Differentiation of political and human rights activities;
2. Non-differentiation of political and non-political prisoners and defense of all prisoners, irrespective of their views;
3. Attention to crime as a social variable and not an individual issue, meaning that when a crime is committed, it should not be considered as merely because of individual mistakes. The society that has pushed the individual towards crime is also at fault.
Meanwhile, Baghi continued with his journalistic, cultural, and research activities. After the publication of Shargh, he regularly wrote articles and editorials for this newspaper. But even then he has committed himself to only writing about human rights and religious thought. There was much pressure on the management of Shargh to not publish Baghi’s articles but is it possible to silence clear thought or a finely-honed mind?
The next year, in the spring of 2004, Baghi started his own newspaper, Jomhouriyat. This social daily intended to be a voice for civil society organizations in the press and follow the path set by him in the cultural sphere. After six months of preparation for the paper, it was allowed to survive less than one week and was banned by Tehran’s prosecutor.
However, Baghi did not remain idle. Gradually the activities of Defending Prisoners’ Rights Association increased and it became known as an established civil society organization. Baghi also continued his sociological research, writing for encyclopedias as well as continuing to write religious and legal articles. This was while pressure was being imposed on him in every way. Even the license for Jame’eh No magazine, which belonged to his wife, was revoked.
In his writings and research on human rights and rights of the accused, Baghi also attempted to give particular attention to the issue of capital punishment from the point of view of Islamic thought and its understanding of human rights. He had been imprisoned for three years because of his different views on capital punishment and laws of retribution and now he tried to defend the rights of those sentenced to death through the establishment of another association named Guardians of the Right to Life. Relying on Qur’anic teachings, his intent has always been to promote forgiveness over retribution as a reflection of the merciful spirit of Islam.
Baghi also participated, along with other veterans of the imposed war, in the creation of the Center for Peace Seekers of Iran (Olive Society). During these years of activity, Baghi was given many prizes and invited to speak or do research outside of Iran but he was not allowed to attend. In September 2003, on his way to the United States with his family to attend an academic conference, his passport was confiscated by security and judicial officials. He was also not allowed to leave to receive France’s human rights prize (which was given by Dominique de Villepin, France’s former prime minister).
Since his release in the winter of 2002 Baghi has faced continued threats of arrest even if many of his friends criticized him for his non-political activities, calling them conservative. Still he was constantly summoned and was ultimately imprisoned again. Since his release in 2002 he was summoned 23 times and faced three important cases against him. The first case involved some of the charges that had led to his previous imprisonment but now investigated in a different court. This court was closed and was conducted without the presence of a lawyer and defense by the accused. The court handed a one year suspended sentence but even this unjust sentence was questioned by Tehran’s prosecutor and was turned into imprisonment. The sentence was not implemented until October of 2007, when he was again summoned on the excuse of a case about the Defending Prisoners’ Rights Association. At that time, suddenly three years after the ruling and without notice, he was transferred to Evin prison but instead of taking him to the general ward, which is the proper prison for all those already sentenced, he was sent to the Ministry of Intelligence ward for interrogation under conditions that should be considered white torture.
Baghi’s second case related to the a trip taken by his wife and daughter, along with two others, to attend a workshop in the United Arab Emirates that on the face of it was sponsored by the United Nations. It turned out that behind the scene there were others who were interested in regime change in Iran and wanted to use Baghi, who has always been interested in policy and not regime change, for their own political purposes. Although Baghi never attended this workshop, he has received a three-year suspended sentence for it, which is still on appeal.
Finally, Baghi has a case that relates to his activities as the head of the Defending Prisoners’ Rights Association, for which he has been interrogated intensively during the implementation of his latest one-year sentence.
Education [1982 – 1990] Certificate of Research and Scholarship in Islamic Philosophy and Theology Theological School, Qum, Iran
[1990-1993] B.A., Social Sciences University of Payame Noor, Tehran, Iran
[1993- 1996] M.S., Sociology, University of Alameh Tabatabee, Tehran, Iran.
Journalistic Experience
• Consultant and writer for Shargh (Sep 2003- Aug 2007) and Ham-mihan (May 2007 – July 2007) newspapers (both banned)
• Editor-in-chief, Jomhouriyat newspaper (banned in 2004)
• Consultant and writer for Jame’eh No magazine. The managing editor of this magazine, which was banned (March 2005) after three years of publication, was Baghi’s spouse
• Writer and consultant for the weekly Shahrvand, edited by Mohammad Qouchani(since April 2007)
• 2004 Editor in Chief, Jomhooriyat newspaper (Temporarily Banned)
• 1996- 1997 Editor, Yad weekly magazine. (Banned)
• 1997 – 1998 Writer and Consultant, Jame’e and Toos newspaper. (Banned)
• 1996 -1997 Writer and Consultant, Khordad newspaper. (Banned)
• 1996 – 1997 Writer and Consultant, Neshat newspapers. (Banned)
• 1996 – 1997 Writer and Consultant, Asreazadegan newspapers. (Banned)
• 1996- 1997 Editor, Fath newspaper. (Banned)
• 1993- 1999 Writer, Salam newspaper. (Banned)

Professional Memberships
President, Defending the Prisoners’ Rights Committee
Member, Central Council in the Society defending the Freedom of Press
Member, Iranian Sociology Association
- Founding the Society for Defending Prisoners' Rights (2003). This non-governmental organization incorporates more than one hundred individuals and is the first Ngo of its kind that has been recognized by other international human rights organizations like the Amnesty International and PRI. The SDPR is composed of four committees: 1. the legal committee consists of eleven lawyers and provides legal consultation and have power of attorney for political and apolitical prisoners free of charge, 2. welfare, health and medical services committee the prominent task of which is to provide an annual report on the general states and conditions of prisons throughout the country, 3. the educational and research committee that is responsible for publishing books and holding conferences on issues related to prisons and prisoners, and also holding training courses and workshops, 4. the public relation committee that is in charge of the SDPR website, publishing bulletins and organizing correspondences and communications.

- Founding the Society of Right to Life Guardians (2005), the main task of which is to campaign for abolition of death sentence and capital punishment. The main activities of this society consists of carrying out researches and studies, publishing books, articles and essays to elaborate the idea of abolishing capital punishment and gaining consents from the kin who have the right to demand retaliations.
- proposing the creation of a society for peace activities and participation in the establishment of the Center for Peace Seekers of Iran (Olive Society) and membership of Baghi and his daughter in the board of directors.
- Collaborating with Amnesty International and Penal Reform International (PRI)


-Receiving award
- Civil Courage Prize awarded by the Trustees of the Northcote Parkinson Fund (2004) --- related links
- Receiving award from Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de L'homme (2005) --- related links
and

Nominating as International Journalist of the Year 2008 by British Press Awards based in London.

Martin Ennals Award
related links
http://www.martinennalsaward.org/en/press/speeches09.htm

Bibliography
1. Understanding Qaedin-e Zaman Party (1983). This is a historical work about Hojjatiyeh society. Baghi has completely re-written this book but has not been able to publish it. It was reprinted many times when it was originally published and sold more than 85,000 copies.
2. An Investigation of the Clergy (1985). This is a work about the history of the institution of clergy in Persia which has been banned and its new version has not been granted publication permit.
3. Analysis of the Persian Revolution (1991). This is historical work about Iran’s Islamic revolution that includes a short contemporary history. It was re-edited and republished in 2003. Tehran, Iran: Saraee’s publishing. ISNB: 964-7362-29-3
4. Oral History of the Islamic Revolution (1994). Tehran, Iran: Tafakkor’s publishing. An investigation of the history of Iran’s Islamic revolution as narrated by BBC and the foreign media.
5. Revolution and Survival of Existence (1997). An investigation of the occupation of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, along with documents associated with the action of students following the Imam line.
6. An Introduction to the Historiography of the Revolution (1991). Tehran, Iran: Mazamir publishing. ISBN: 646-6267-64-5 .
A roundtable with Emadeddin Baghi, Assadollah Badamchian, Hatam Qaderi, and Sadeq Zibakalam about methods and lessons of the historiography of the revolution.
7. Iran’s Student Movement (1997). A book about the history of the student movement in Iran from the beginning until the Islamic revolution. This book was re-edited and re-printed in 2000. Tehran, Iran: Iranian Society publishing. ISNB: 964-5925-03-7
8. The Contemporary History of Persia (1999). This book was written with two other people for instruction in the second year of high school. It was collected and banned after a short period of instruction.
9. The Oppressors and the Oppressed (2000). Baghi’s memoirs about the events and years leading to the victory of the Islamic revolution.
10. Sociology of Imam Hussein’s Rebellion and People of Kufa (2000). A Scientific and theoretical analysis of the Ashura rebellion and behavior of the Iraqi people which has also been translated into Arabic in Lebanon.
11. Tragedy of Democracy in Iran in two volumes (1998-9). An event-oriented work about the serial murders in Iran which was unique in its time. The second volume, in particular, is considered an important investigative work. The first volume is a collection of Baghi’s articles in the press. Both of these books are now banned. Tehran, Iran: Nay’s publishing. Volume I. ISNB: 964-312-490-8 . Tehran, Iran: Nay’s publishing. Volume II. ISNB: 964-312-507-6.
12. For History (2000). Collection of articles about the Intelligence Ministry and attempted assassination of Saeed Hajjarian, including an interview with Hajjarian about the Intelligence Ministry and serial murders. Tehran, Iran: Nay’s publishing. ISNB: 964-312-500-9.
13. The Rights of Dissidents (2002). An analytical work which includes Baghi’s articles in the reformist press about freedom and rights of dissidents. Tehran, Iran: Saraee’s Publishing. ISNB: 964-7362-01-3.
14. The Spring of the Fourth Estate (2002). Collection of articles, speeches, and interviews by Baghi regarding the rights of the press and writers and also his experience as a writer and editor in the reformist press. Tehran, Iran: Saraee’s publishing. ISBN: 964-7362-22-6.
15. Place of Worship in Traditional and Modernity (2002). An encyclopedic work about the sociology of religion which was edited and supervised by Baghi.
16. Capital Punishment and Retribution (2002). Baghi’s defense in the court regarding his article about capital punishment and retribution and religious views on the subject. The second volume of this book entails an analytical and juridical investigation of the subject but has not been granted publication permit by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
17. Contemporary Religious Discourses (2003). Collection of articles and talks about religion and challenges posed by transformations in religious thought. Tehran, Iran: Saraee’s publishing. ISNB: 964-7362-30-7
18. Birth of a Revolution (2003). A sociological analysis of how revolutions occur. Tehran, Iran: Saraee’s publishing. ISNB: 964-7362-29-7.
19. The Clergy and Power (2003). A sociological and religious discussion of the relationship between religion, politics, clergy, and government which has not been granted reprinting (3rd print) permission.
20. The American Judiciary (2003). Done in cooperation with Mohammad Hossein Baghi about the American criminal system. The book was translated and edited during Baghi’s previous prison sentence.
21. The Democratic Reform Movement in Iran (2004). Collection of articles about political reform in Iran which were published in the Iranian press between 1997 and 2004, examining concepts of reform and revolution. Tehran, Iran: Saraee’s publishing. ISNB: 964 -7362-31-5
Among the above publications, 7 have so far been banned. Also among the 7 following books, six of which (23-28) have not been granted permission to publish during Ahmadinejad’s presidency. Baghi has written an open letter protesting the situation but has not received any response. The titles of these books are as follows:
22. The Khomeini Experience. Collection of articles about Ayatollah Khomeini.
23. Lessons about Human Rights. Historical and philosophical regarding the evolution of theories of human rights.
24. The Right to Life. A discussion of the possibility of banning capital punishment in Shari’a and Iranian laws as well as a report and analysis of capital punishment in Iran.
25. Secularism. A book about the relationship between religion and politics as well sacred and profane.
26. The Modern City. A book about urban life, impact of industrialization, growth and development of urban life on individuals and society.
27. Religion and Human Rights. Extensive discussion of areas of conflict between Islam and human rights as well as paths and views regarding their compatibility.
28. Execution of Minors in Iran. A discussion of the roots of as well as cultural and juridical solutions for the execution of children under 18 in Iran. The book also offers a report of the execution sentences handed out between 1997 and 2007.

Research Projects
Articles in the Encyclopedia of Shi’ism
Articles in the Great Islamic Encyclopedia
Descriptive Research on Worldwide References to Ayatollah Khomeini
Analytical Biography of Ayatollah Khomeini
Iranian Contemporary History
Evaluative Surveys on Religion in Iranian Society

Attended Seminars
1999 Article presented in ‘Iran in the Twenty-first Century’, Nicosia, Cyprus
1999 ‘Islamic Methodology’, Oman, Jordan
2003 ‘The Cultural Capital of Islamic World’, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
2004 Article presented in Stanford Seminar on "Democracy in Iran" 2004 Article presented in “Ways to Guarantee the Rights of Prisoners’’
2004 article presented in The 2nd World Congress Against the Death Penalty, jointly organized by ECPM (Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort / Together against the Death Penalty) and PRI (Penal Reform International) be held in Montreal, Canada, from October 6 to 9, 2004
2006 article presented in The 3nd World Congress Against the Death Penalty,Paris,
http://www.emadbaghi.com/en/archives/000048.php#more

2007 article presented in the 3rd congress against the Death Penalty in Paris
http://www.emadbaghi.com/en/archives/000851.php#more



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