Iran has handed down a three-year prison sentence to prominent reformist journalist Isa Saharkhiz.
A court found Saharkhiz guilty of "insulting Iranian officials" and "propaganda against the regime" on August 9. Speaking to Iranian Students' News Agency, Saharkhiz's lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabatei, said after months of waiting, his client had been issued a verdict — although not for all of the charges against him.
Revolutionary Guards arrested Saharkhiz on November 2, 2015, and arrested fellow journalists Ehsan Mazandarani, Afarin Chitsaz, and Saman Safarzaei and the brother of a journalist, Davoud Asadi, a day later. The guards accused them of being part of an “infiltration network.” In April, all three were given long prison sentences, but Saharkhiz was tried separately. Chitsaz was released in July pending appeal, but Mazandarani and Safarzaei remain incarcerated, and Mazandarani has suffered a heart attack since being jailed.
Saharkhiz has also suffered poor health since being detained, partially due to repeated hunger strikes, one lasting 48 days. He has also been held in solitary confinement for long periods.
Speaking to Journalism is Not a Crime in November 2014, Saharkhiz’s son Mehdi said: “My father wasn’t doing anything. He was posting on Facebook, maybe talking in different groups, and writing articles for different websites. He was just putting his opinion out there, which according to the Iranian constitution is his right to do. This arrest is completely illegal; it doesn’t have any basis. There is absolutely no evidence presented as what these charges are based on."
Saharkhiz previously spent four years in prison in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election.
Judges have not reached a verdict for other charges leveled against Saharkhiz.