May 15, 2005

Court summons against Emadoldin Baghi cancelled but vigilance remains

12 May 2005
: Reporters Without Borders
Court summons against Emadoldin Baghi cancelled but vigilance remains

A summons against Emadoldin Baghi to appear at a Tehran revolutionary court on 12 May has been suspended, following a national and international outcry, his lawyer Saleh Nikbakhata said.

But Reporters Without Borders said that despite the cancellation it was remaining "very vigilant". "The Iranian court system is capable of deciding at any moment to issue a new summons and imprison him. We call on the international community, on the eve of presidential elections, to keep up pressure on Iran, by raising the plight of all imprisoned journalists and those who suffer judicial and police harassment, like Emadoldin Baghi. "

Nikbakhata told Reporters Without Borders that he had protested against his client's sentence in December 2004 and called for his prison term to be commuted to a fine, in view of the fact that he had already been tried on the same charge.

The lawyer has opened negotiations with Tehran's prosecutor Saïd Mortazavi, who had told him he would obtain Baghi's file from the court for "verification".


11.05.05 - Journalist Emadoldin Baghi faces possible imprisonment again
Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about a court summons received on 8 May by journalist Emadoldin Baghi, who has been imprisoned in the past. Baghi has been ordered to appear before a Tehran revolutionary court tomorrow.

"We are extremely worried by this summons, which means that Emadoldin Baghi is to be arrested again, and we call on the European countries who have began a dialogue with Iran to closely follow the case of this ardent defender of free speech," the press freedom organization said.

"We point out that the head of the Iranian judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi, recently accused the courts and the police of exceeding their authority and of abusing the law in some of the summonses they issued and the ensuing arbitrary arrests," the organization added.

Baghi was tried by a Tehran revolutionary court on 9 November 2004 for writing articles for the pro-reform press and the following month was given a suspended sentence of one year in prison. After Tehran prosecutor Said Mortazavi objected, it was changed to a year in prison with no suspension of sentence.

Baghi was previously sentenced on 17 July 2000 to seven years in prison for "attacking national security" and "spreading false news." The sentence was reduced to three years in prison on 23 October 2000, and he was released on 6 February 2003 after spending more than two years in prison.

He has continued to defend human rights since his release, both as the editor of the daily newspaper Jomhuriat ("Republican" in Farsi) - which was closed on the orders of the Tehran prosecutor in July 2004 - and as the founder of an organization that defends the rights of prisoners of conscience. He was banned from travelling outside of the country on 5 October 2004.

The authorities recently closed a monthly newspaper edited by his wife, called Jameh No ("New Society" in Farsi). At the start of May, Baghi and 255 other journalists signed a petition calling for a fair presidential election and the unconditional release of political prisoners, especially journalists.

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