Imprisoned Journalist to Serve another 45 Days after Completing Five-Year Sentence
The Iranian Judiciary continues to imprison Mohammad Davari, a journalist who was instrumental in exposing human rights violations at the Kahrizak Detention Center and other prisons in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 elections, despite completion of his five-year sentence.
Davari’s August 16 release was denied, so that he may serve a new sentence of 45 days in prison and $100 in cash fines, equal to the one 45-day furlough (permitted leave) he was granted during his imprisonment, which the authorities later decided he should not have been granted.
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Bijan Davari, brother of the disabled Iran-Iraq War veteran, teacher, and former editor-in-Chief of the Saham News website affiliated with former presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, told the Campaign that Mohammad Davari’s family is astonished at the treatment of his brother. “We don’t understand…. He was on furlough after all; he didn’t just take off from prison! According to prisoner rights, each prisoner is entitled to furlough during the time he serves his sentence. Mohammad was only allowed furlough once during his five-year prison sentence, so that he could attend his brother’s funeral. He went on furlough on March 15, 2013, and returned to prison in late April [April 23, 2013],” Bijan Davari told the Campaign.
“Initially, they gave Mohammad a few days of furlough. When we called on the phone to [request they] extend his furlough, they told us that when they see fit [for him to return to prison], they would be calling the person who posted his bail [for Mohammad] to turn himself in to the prison. When no calls were made, Mohammad thought his furlough had been extended, until the Prosecutor’s Office contacted the person who had posted the bail [and told him that Mohammad] should turn himself in. They said the furlough is no longer authorized and Mohammad [must] return to Evin Prison,” said Bijan Davari. “But when he turned himself in to prison, they put him on trial for absence without leave, and sentenced him to 45 days in prison–the total number of days he was on furlough–and cash fines,” he added.
Mohammad Davari was arrested in 2009 after political opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi wrote a letter to the head of the Council of Experts reporting the torture of political prisoners inside the Kahrizak Detention Center and other prisons. Security forces tortured Davari in prison, pressuring him to make televised confessions against Karroubi. In a letter to the Tehran Prosecutor, Mehdi Karroubi assumed responsibility for the collection of the evidence on prison torture and rape which was compiled in 2009, and stated that Mohammad Davari had only videotaped the victim interviews for the evidence. Branch 28 of Tehran Revolutionary Court, however, sentenced Davari to five years in prison on charges of “assembly and collusion with the intent to disrupt national security,” and “propaganda against the state.”
“We just don’t understand it. Mohammad’s furlough was authorized by the officials, and he turned himself in when his furlough ended. Why should he be punished like this now? This treatment means nothing other than prisoner abuse. We were hopeful to see him released on August 16. Now he will have to wait until September 29,” Mohammad Davari’s brother told the Campaign.