UPDATE: (March 11, 2008) The authorities released Saeed Matinpour, after he posted bail in amount of 5 billion Rial ($550,000). He is subject to further prosecution.
(February 28, 2008) Saeed Matinpour (32), arrested on May 25, 2007, is an Azerbaijani journalist and human rights defender. He is held without charge; denied access to a lawyer; and is reportedly subjected to ill-treatment and torture. Intelligence agents held him in solitary confinement for 205 days to pressure him into making false confessions.
Matinpour is a journalist and has a master’s degree in philosophy from Tehran University. He wrote for several magazines such as Yarpagh and Mardom-e Now. In his writing he protested human rights violations and advocated for peaceful activities in pursuit of Azerbaijani cultural and linguistic rights such as the right to primary education and publication in the Azerbaijani language.
On the evening of May 25, 2007, as he was walking with his wife in the city of Zanjan , intelligence agents detained them and took them back to their house, searching it without a warrant. They confiscated books, writings, and Matinpour’s personal computer.
After nearly seven months of incommunicado detention, the authorities allowed Matinpour’s wife, Atieh Taheri, to visit him for the first time on December 17, 2007. According to Taheri, her husband is under severe physical and psychological ill-treatment to force him to make videotaped false confessions.
In order to increase their pressure on Matinpour, the authorities detained his younger brother, Alireza Matinpour, on August 27, 2007. Both Saeed and Alireza Matinpour are currently held in Tehran’s Evin prison without being charged.