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Detained journalist very ill, denied treatment by Evin prison authorities

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has voiced outrage about the conditions in which journalist Ali Farahbakhsh is being held after learning that he is seriously ill and is being refused proper treatment by the prison authorities. The organisation reiterated its condemnation of his arbitrary arrest and called for his immediate release.

"Farahbakhsh needs to be transferred quickly to a hospital to be examined and to be given appropriate treatment," Reporters Without Borders said. "Depriving prisoners of medical care constitutes 'cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment' and is sanctioned by Iranian law as well as article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran signed."

Farahbakhsh's mother, Badri Farahbakhsh, told Reporters Without Borders she was very worried about him. "Ali is innocent but what worries me most now is his health," she said. "Ayatollah Shahroudi, the head of the judicial system, insists a great deal on the 'rights of citizens and detainees,' and I would like these decrees and instructions to be applied to my son as well. His condition needs immediate care outside prison, but the prison authorities continue to oppose it."

A contributor to several Iranian newspapers including "Yas-e no" and "Shargh", Farahbakhsh was arrested on 27 November 2006 in Tehran on his return from a conference in Thailand about the news media. Accused of "spying," he was sentenced to three years in prison on 26 March 2007. He is serving the sentence in security section 209 of Tehran's Evin prison.

According to his family, Farahbakhsh suffers from digestive problems but now, because of the water he is drinking in prison, he has kidney problems as well. The prison authorities have been refusing to give him his medicine since the start of May. He also had internal hemorrhaging during the 40 days he spent in solitary confinement at the start of his imprisonment.

For further information contact Hajar Smouni, RSF, 5, rue Geoffroy Marie, Paris 75009, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 84, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51, e-mail: [email protected], Internet: http://www.rsf.org

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