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Ailing journalist placed in solitary confinement; Kurdish journalist released on bail, still facing trial

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has voiced active concern about the treatment of journalist and human rights activist Emadoldin Baghi who earlier this month was placed in an isolation cell in Evin prison, Tehran instead of being transferred to a hospital.

Baghi was at the start of 2008 released on licence because of a heart condition but was recalled to jail in April against the advice of doctors. While free, he wrote to the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi, to complain of the appalling prison conditions in the notorious Evin jail.

"Emadoldin Baghi is paying the price for his outspokenness," the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "He has frequently criticised the regime's officials, some of whom have been appointed to top level positions, such as intelligence minister Mohseni Ejehi and the prosecutor general Dori Najafabadi."

"He is being discriminated against when his poor health means he should be treated in hospital," it added.

Baghi contacted his wife, Fatemeh Kamali Ahmad Sarahi, on 9 August to inform her that the prison doctor had authorised his transfer to a hospital in Tehran for further treatment. A few hours later the journalist called her again to say that he had been admitted to Section 209 of the jail, a special wing under the control of the intelligence services.

When his wife was allowed to see him on 18 August, he appeared weakened and complained to her of breathing difficulties as a result of being locked in an insalubrious cell. Baghi also told her that he had refused to undergo any further interrogation. "He will no longer put up with being questioned bound and blindfolded," she told Reporters Without Borders.

In another case, freelance journalist Saman Rasulpur, 23, was released on 14 August on payment of bail of ten million tumen (approx. 7,000 euros), while awaiting his trial. He was arrested on 27 July at his home in the city of Mahabad in Kurdistan, for taking part in a demonstration in protest at death sentences passed against journalists Adnan Hassanpur and Abdolvahed "Hiva" Botimar as well as a Kurdish teacher. Since his release, Rasulpur has been summoned on several occasions by intelligence ministry agents.

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