June 01, 2008

Award-winning Iranian journalist hospitalised in jail: report

May 12, 2008
TEHRAN (AFP) — An award-winning Iranian journalist and rights activist has been hospitalised in jail in Tehran after returning to prison from sick leave, a press report said on Monday.
"Emadeddin Baghi has once again been taken to Evin prison infirmary," the reformist newspaper Kargozaran said, without giving details about the condition of the anti-death penalty and prisoners' rights campaigner.
Baghi had returned to jail in April after a three-month sick leave to serve out a one-year sentence imposed in 2003 on security charges over a series of articles published 10 years ago.
Lawyer Saleh Nikbakht said Baghi had returned to Tehran's Evin jail despite his illness not being completely cured, adding that physicians had not been able to make an accurate diagnosis.
Baghi, 45, was first hospitalised in December 2007 with a nervous condition after being arrested in October on charges of spreading propaganda against Iran's Islamic system and publishing secret documents.
Prisoners in Iran are sometimes allowed to serve parts of their sentences at home if it can be proven that they have serious health problems.
Last month, Baghi was awarded the international journalist of the year prize at the British Press Awards in recognition of his attempts to supply news to readers despite the obstacles.
Baghi heads a prisoners' rights group and is a rare and outspoken critic of Iran's increased use of the death penalty.
He previously served a three-year jail term between 2000-2003 over his writings in several pro-reform newspapers.
Earlier this month the judiciary said Baghi had been cleared of "propaganda in favour of the opposition to harm national security and propaganda against the system" -- charges which would have cost him another three years in jail.
In 2004, he founded the Jomhouriyat newspaper, devoting much coverage to human rights. But it was later shut down by the judiciary.

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