Journalist Behind Bars Since 2009 Suffers Heart Attack in Prison
The imprisoned journalist Massoud Bastani was transferred to the hospital on February 20, 2015, following a heart attack inside Shahid Rajaee Prison. The health conditions of Bastani, 37, who has been in prison since his arrest in the wake of the protests that followed the disputed 2009 presidential election in Iran, have steadily deteriorated during his six years of incarceration.
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Bastani’s mother, Massoumeh Malool, said, “After the prison infirmary was unable to do anything for Massoud’s conditions, he was transferred to Imam Khomeini hospital, where he remains under treatment. Thank God his heart conditions are better, but he has muscle weakness in the left part of his body. He walks with difficulty and keeps falling down.”
Ms. Malool continued, “Massoud did not have any problems prior to his imprisonment. He has been in prison for nearly six years now. He doesn’t have good nutrition, he doesn’t get enough vitamins. He is inside a crowded cell, and all these affect a prisoner. He suffered from weakened muscles in 2012, and had to be hospitalized at Sina Hospital for three weeks.”
Massoumeh Malool told the Campaign that Article 134 of the new Islamic Penal Code, which requires convicts with multiple charges to receive only the maximum penalty for their most serious charges rather than consecutive penalties for each lesser charge, should have been enforced in Bastani’s case. Enforcement of this article would have led to his release last year.
“The Iranian Judiciary is responsible for whatever happens to Massoud in prison. Both Massoud and his family have repeatedly requested enforcement of Article 134 in his case, but it has not been enforced so far,” she said.
The heavy prison sentences imposed on hundreds of citizens who were arrested and prosecuted following the disputed presidential election in 2009 were the result of combined maximum punishments for charges such as “propaganda against the state,” “assembly and collusion with the intent to disrupt national security,” and “publishing falsehoods.” Enforcement of Article 134 would drastically reduce such sentences.
On January 17, 2014, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran asked the Iranian Judiciary and the Prisons Organization to enforce Article 134 of the new Islamic Penal Code in the cases of prisoners currently serving prison terms, and to allow them an early release.
Bastani was arrested on July 5, 2009, in the crackdown that followed the disputed presidential election that year. His arrest took place when he went to the Revolutionary Courts to learn of the reason his wife, the journalist Mahsa Amrabadi, had been arrested. The reason for his arrest was cited as his activities on the reformist Jomhouriyat website. Bastani was eventually sentenced to six years in prison. He has been serving his sentence at Karaj’s Rajaee Shahr Prison.