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Adnan Hassan, Iran's longest-held journalist, released from prison

This statement was originally published on on 12 September 2016.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is relieved to learn that Adnan Hassan, Iran's longest-held journalist and an RSF “information hero,” was finally released on 10 September after nearly ten years in prison.

Based in the western city of Marivan, in a region where most of the population is Kurdish, Hassan was an ardent defender of the Kurdish cause, working for Asou (Horizon), a local weekly that was closed by the authorities after his arrest on 25 January 2007.

Initially held in Mahabad prison, where he was not allowed to see his family or his lawyer, he was sentenced to death by a Marivan revolutionary court in July 2007 on a range of charges including spying.

Iran's supreme court upheld the death sentence in October 2007 but, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of his lawyer Saleh Nikbakht and international pressure, overturned it in August 2008 after finally ruling that he could not be regarded as 'mohareb' (an enemy of God).

Retried twice before a court in the Kurdish city of Sanandaj, in September 2008 and January 2009, he was sentenced on the second occasion to a total of 15 years in prison. He has been released now under article 134 of the new Islamic penal code (as amended in 2013), according to which someone convicted of more than one crime serves only the main sentence.

“We welcome information hero Adnan Hassan's release and we salute the efforts of his lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht,” said Reza Moini, the head of RSF's Iran/Afghanistan's desk. “This is a great victory for all human rights defenders but Hassan's release must not divert attention from the fate of all the other journalists who are unjustly imprisoned in Iran.”

Iran is ranked 169th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

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