UPDATE: (1 October 2008) The authorities released Emad Baghi on 16 September 2008 for medical treatment. His prison term will be completed on 8 October 2008. Baghi continues to be subject of prosecution for his human rights activities as the founder of the Center for Defense of Prisoners’ Rights.
UPDATE: (8 September 2008) Emad Baghi, after being held for three weeks in Section 209 of Evin Prison, was returned to general Section 350 on 28 August 2008. The Judiciary announced continuing interrogations in the prosecution of Mr. Baghi, although no new charges were issued against him during his incarceration in Section 209 of Evin Prison.
Mr. Baghi suffered from severe heart and kidney ailments while in prison and the prison doctor recommended strongly that he be taken to a hospital to receive treatment for his illnesses. On the same day the doctor gave his recommendations, 8 August 2008, Mr. Baghi was transferred to Section 209 of Evin Prison.
Section 209 is under the supervision of Intelligence Ministry agents and Mr. Baghi was kept there in a cell with no facilities and another prisoner. The spokesperson for the Judiciary, Alireza Jamshidi, announced that Mr. Baghi had been moved to Section 209 for interrogations regarding his ongoing prosecution.
Emad Baghi (45), a prominent human rights defender, is serving a one- year sentence for articles he wrote a decade before, and for which he already spent three years in prison on the same charges. He is the founder of the Center for Defense of Prisoners’ Rights. His health is in grave condition.
Baghi was prosecuted for two articles he wrote, entitled “Capital Punishment and Qisas” (published in September 1999) and “Solving the Black Box of Serial Murders” (published in January 2000). He was charged with “publishing insulting material with unacceptable interpretation of Islamic rules,” and “dissemination of falsehoods with intention of disturbing public opinion.” Judge Mortazavi, then presiding over Branch 1410 of Tehran’s Public Court, sentenced him to three years in prison, in addition to a one- year suspended sentence on 6 August 2000.
Subsequently, Baghi served a three- year sentence in prison. On 14 October 2007, Baghi was summoned and interrogated with regard to his advocacy on behalf of prisoners’ rights within the framework of the Center for Defense of Prisoners’ Rights. He was arrested and ordered to serve his one-year suspended sentence.
During his latest incarceration, Baghi developed serious heart problems due to solitary confinement and stress during long interrogation sessions. Due to his serious medical condition, the Judiciary released Baghi on a medical parole for a period of two months on 16 February 2008. During his medical parole, Judicial authorities continued to summon Baghi, including five court sessions on new charges filed against him. He was arrested again on 15 April 2008 as his medical parole expired.
On 11 May 2008, authorities transferred Baghi to the prison’s medical clinic after his heart condition worsened. During his medical parole, his doctors warned that his health is in a perilous condition and he should not be returned to prison. There are serious concerns for his health and safety.
The Judiciary has scheduled a new court hearing for Baghi on 18 June 2008 on charges relating to his advocacy for prisoners’ rights and the Center for Defense of Prisoners’ Rights.