ISSN 2330-717X

Iran: Journalist Keyvan Mehregan and Reza Khandan freed on bail


Journalist Keyvan Mehregan has been released from prison along with Reza Khandan, spouse of imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.

According to the pro-reform Mizan Khabar website, Keyvan Mehregan, political editor at the leading reformist Shargh newspaper was released on Monday 17 January on a bail of more than $9,600. Mehregan was arrested, on 4 December 2010 along with Shargh’s editor-in-chief Ahmad Gholami, international editor Farzaneh Roustaei and a fourth man associated with the paper. Tehran’s Chief Prosecutor Jafari-Dolatabadi had said that the arrests were on security charges.

Reza Khandan, husband of imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was also released on bail on Monday afternoon, according to the Feminist School website. Khandan was arrested on Sunday morning after being summoned to the Evin prison court. He said that he had been charged with “disturbing public opinion and spreading lies.”

Sotoudeh has been sentenced to 11 years in jail, and banned from practicing law and traveling for 20 years. The judge sentenced her to five years in prison on charge of “acting against national security,” another five years for “not wearing Hijab (Islamic dress) during a videotaped message,” and one year for “propaganda against the regime.”

She has defended many of those who have been arbitrarily arrested and charged for exercising their rights after the tainted June 2009 presidential election; among her clients is Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, who has campaigned strenuously for due process to be observed in her case. Ebadi organized a sit-in at the UN Human Rights Council to raise awareness about the case and to plead for more international support.

Sotoudeh, a mother of two children, was arrested on 4 September 2010. Detained for long periods in solitary confinement, and denied contact with her family and lawyer, she came close to death after three dry hunger strikes to protest her prison conditions and violations of due process.

She has reportedly been tortured in prison in order to force her to confess to crimes.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navy Pillay expressed concern about her case on 23 November 2010, stating: “I am very concerned that Nasrin Sotoudeh’s case is part of a much broader crackdown, and that the situation of human rights defenders in Iran is growing more and more difficult.”

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GVF is The Green Voice of Freedom

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