Friends and former colleagues of Bahman Ahmadi Amouyi, supported by activists and journalists have expressed their worries on the living conditions of the prominent Iranian journalist arrested in 2009 in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election.
Amouyi, an experienced journalist who had been writing for twenty years on the economy for newspapers such as Jame’eh, Toos, Sobh-e Emrooz, Norooz, Shargh, Vaghaye Ettefaghieh, and Sarmayeh, was sentenced to five years in prison after he criticised Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet in one of his pieces. His wife, Jila Baniyaghoub was arrested with him on 20 June 2009.
Ahmadi Amouyi was recently transferred from the Evin prison to Rejai Shahr prison after he and other inmates honored the memory of late Hoda Saber, a prisoner who died while on hunger strike. The group also commemorated the controversial anniversary of the election of Ahmadinejad.
The transfer took place less than a month after the death of Iranian-Kurdish political journalist Mohammad Mehdi Zalieh Naghshbandian in the same jail. He had just been transferred to Rejai Shahr after 18 years spent in Oroumiyeh Prison.
141 Iranian journalists expressed their concerns about their friend, urging the Iranian government to protect the health and safety of Amouyi who has been held in a solitary cell, in the ward where death row inmates are kept.
Iranian NGO Committee for Human Rights spoke to Prisoners inside Rajaee Shahr who said that "conditions inside solitary cells of this ward are so horrific, that all prisoners who are detained there develop illnesses and face serious physical and psychological problems. Nobody can last there."
Journalist crackdown in Iran
Iranian authorities have been showing little interest in the defense of journalists on their soil, or in the protection of press freedom. The government’s anger awaken by the 2009’s presidential election protests is still fueling journalists crackdown.
Five opposition journalists fled to Turkey after being persecuted, sometimes jailed, for their work and are waiting for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to grant them a refugee status.
Iran has also been imposing heavier restrictions on internet access and particularly to the use of VPNs. In a report on the recent 10th most censored countries in the world, the Committee to Protect journalist (CPJ) has said that “Iranian authorities maintain one of the world's toughest Internet censorship regimes, blocking millions of websites, including news and social networking sites; using sophisticated techniques to detect interference with anti-censorship programs; and intimidating reporters via social networks. The regime also frequently jams satellite signals, particularly that of the BBC Persian-language service.”
CPJ has ranked Iran 4th most censored country in the world after Eritrea, North Korea and Syria.
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