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Journalist Emadoldin Baghi reincarcerated after heart treatment; human rights activist receives death threats

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns the judicial decision to send journalist and human rights activist Emadoldin Baghi back to prison on 15 April 2008. He had been let out of prison to seek medical treatment on 18 January.

"Reimprisoning Baghi against the advice of his doctors poses a very serious risk to his health," the press freedom organisation said. "We urge the Iranian authorities to allow him to continue to receive treatment out of prison."

Baghi was returned to his cell in Tehran's Evin prison, on 15 April, after 88 days on provisional release. Under a provision of the Iranian criminal code, he was allowed to leave the prison on 18 January for treatment of his heart condition, which had resulted in his being rushed to hospital from the prison in December 2007. His lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, told Reporters Without Borders that his health continues to be worrying.

Baghi won the International Journalist of the Year Award at the British Press Awards in London on 10 April. The French government awarded him its human rights prize in 2005 for his campaigning against the death penalty.

Baghi was imprisoned on 14 October 2007 to serve a one-year sentence he had been given in November 2004 for writing a book that accused government officials of involvement in a series of murders of intellectuals and journalists in 1998.

Reporters Without Borders meanwhile also calls on the Iranian authorities to guarantee the safety of lawyer and Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, who found threatening letters outside her office on 3 April. "We warned you several times to hold your tongue but you carried on talking despite our warnings," one of the letters said. "For the last time, change your behaviour or we will take our revenge."

Ebadi said the threats against her family "have increased of late."

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