November 05, 2009

Iran- UPDATE- Iranian human rights defender Mr Emad Baghi prevented from receiving major human rights award in Geneva


Front Line has been concerned to learn that Iranian human rights defender, Mr Emad Baghi, has been prevented from leaving Iran to travel to Geneva, Switzerland, where he was due to receive the prestigious Martin Ennals Award (MEA) on 2 November. Emad Baghi was prevented from getting his passport without any explanation on the part of the authorities. He has become the first laureate in the 18-year history of the MEA not be allowed to receive his prize in person. Emad Baghi founded the Society for the Defense of Prisoners' Rights, and has been a vigorous and outspoken opponent of the death penalty in Iran.
Further Information
In recent years, Emad Baghi has been repeatedly subjected to harassment. On July 31 2007, he was condemned by the Tehran Revolutionary Court to three years in prison for “activities against national security” and “publicity in favour of the regime's opponents”. These charges followed an article he had written in which he called for the defence of persons who were sentenced to death in the southern Khozestan region. Emad Baghi was released in September 2008 on medical grounds. He was previously detained from 2000-2003 in relation to articles he had written against the death penalty.
The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) is a unique collaboration among ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations to give protection to human rights defenders worldwide. The Jury is composed of the following NGOs: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, International Federation for Human Rights, World Organisation Against Torture, Front Line, International Commission of Jurists, German Diakonie, International Service for Human Rights and HURIDOCS. On 20 May 2009, Front Line reported the announcement of Emad Baghi as the 2009 laureate.

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