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Journalist Ali Farahbakhsh released on "conditional bail"

(WiPC/IFEX) - International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee welcomes the release of journalist Ali Farahbakhsh on 9 October 2007, although remains concerned that he has not been fully acquitted. PEN reiterates its calls for his full and unconditional release, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a signatory.

According to PEN's information, Ali Farahbakhsh, a former economics and foreign affairs reporter for the banned reformist dailies "Yas-e No", "Shargh and Sobh-e Emrooz", was released conditionally after serving ten months of a sixteen-month prison sentence. His lawyers plan to appeal against the conditional nature of his release and seek Ali Farahbaksh's full acquittal.

Ali Farahbakhsh was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of "espionage" and "stealing from foreigners" on 26 March. The sentence was reduced to sixteen months by the Court of Appeal, which ruled that Ali Farahbakhsh never had access to classified information and never passed classified information on to foreigners. The charges are believed to be based on his attendance of a conference organised by a Thai human rights organisation on government and the media in November 2006 in Bangkok, Thailand. He was first arrested on 27 November 2006 on his return from the conference, and his arrest was not made public until 6 January 2007. He is among a number of prominent Iranian writers and human activists who have been targeted in connection with their attendance at international conferences in recent months. Farahbakhsh was held in section 209 of Tehran's Evin prison, and spent periods in solitary confinement and without access to necessary medication.

RECOMMENDED ACTION

Please send appeals to authorities:

- welcoming the release of journalist Ali Farahbakhsh
- expressing concern that his sentence was not quashed
- calling for his full acquittal in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a signatory

APPEALS TO:

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shahid Keshvardoost Street
Jomhuri Eslami Avenue
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]

His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Head of the Judiciary
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
E-mail via Judiciary website: Iranjudiciary.org/feedback_en.html

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: via Foreign Ministry: +98 21 6 674 790

(Mark: "Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad")
E-mail: [email protected], via website: www.president.ir/email

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

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