February 10, 2003 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Emadoldin Baghi freed after two years in prison

Reporters Without Borders today welcomed the release of Emadoldin Baghi, a journalist with the banned daily newspapers Neshat and Fath, who had been in jail for more two years for alleged subversion. He was freed on 6 February. The previous day, another journalist, Ali-Reza Jabari, jailed in December, was released. "We are still worried however about new charges Baghi is facing," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard. "We also call on the head of the country's judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmud Sharudi, to free Al-Reza Esraghi, who has been held since the beginnng of the year, as well as six other journalists." Ménard urged the European Union to press the Iranian authorities to free them. The release of Baghi and Jabari coincided with a visit to Teheran by EU external relations commissioner Chris Patten for trade negotiations. When he came out of prison, Baghi was told he would be summoned on 8 March to face new charges in connection with articles he had written in the reformist press accusing top regime officials of involvement in the 1998 murder of five intellectuals and opposition figures. The killings caused a stir and a book Baghi wrote mentioning them, called "The Tragedy of Democracy in Iran," was withdrawn from sale in July 2000 a few weeks after it was published. The Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran), former intelligence minister Ali Fallahian, the government TV station and former secret police officials all filed complaints against him. Baghi was sentenced on 17 July 2000 to seven years in prison for "undermining national security" and "putting out false news." On 23 October, this was reduced to three years. He was jailed because he wrote an editorial in the daily paper Neshat in September 1999 calling for Islam to take a modern attitude to the death penalty. Jabari, a translator and freelance contributor to several independent newspapers, including Adineh, was arrested at his office in Teheran on 28 December by non-uniformed individuals and the premises searched. His wife was never told where he was being detained. An interview with Jabari was published on 25 December in a Persian-language newspaper in Canada, Charvand, in which he said the country's hardline spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Guide of the Islamic Revolution, wanted the crisis in Iran to get worse. Jabari, a member of the Iranian Writers' Association, has translated many Iranian works, some of them banned, into English.