Journalist Siamak Ghaderi spent four years in Evin Prison, during which he was repeatedly tortured and not allowed outside once. He also spent 40 days in solitary confinement for protesting against conditions at the prison.
Name: Siamak Ghaderi
Career: Worked with Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) and the newspapers Iran, Iranian, Akhbar and Ebtekar; editor-in-chief of Iranian Student’s News Agency (ISNA) and editor-in-chief of Iran’s Labor News Agency (ILNA).
Charges: Actions against national security by participating in street protests after 2009 presidential election, propaganda against the regime by publishing news about protest rallies on his blogs, publishing falsehoods, insulting former President Ahmadinejad, insulting the attorney general, and violating religious prohibitions by interviewing homosexuals.
Siamak Ghaderi was arrested and taken to Evin Prison on 9 August 2009 following the presidential election. Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to four years in prison, 60 lashes and a cash fine. The appellate court upheld his sentence.
Ghaderi had been in trouble with IRNA’s management even before he was arrested. He quarreled with Aliakbar Javanfekr, the director of the news agency at the time, as well as with the press advisor to former President Ahmadinejad. He had also written a blog post entitled “Our IRNA”, in which he described the actions of the new management team appointed by Ahmadinejad.
Soon after his arrest and before the preliminary verdict was issued, Ghaderi was barred from the offices of the news agency and then dismissed. He complained to the Court of Civil Service Justice; the court ruled against the management and ordered them to reinstate Ghaderi. The management refused.
Following his dismissal, Ghaderi continued writing for blogs, and was summoned to the Inquest Office of the Intelligence Ministry on several occasions. He was then arrested.
During his four years at Evin Prison, he was taken outside just once, when he was blindfolded and escorted to court. His requests for furloughs were consistently rejected.
In an interview with the website Kaleme, his wife Farzaneh Mirzavand said that her husband was tortured throughout his interrogations. Officials did not respond to complaints.
According to her, officials asked her husband to file a petition for clemency so he was released sooner but Siamak refused, believing he had done nothing wrong.
From 2011 to 2014, Ghaderi signed all political statements by the Green Movement, including those about Hoda Saber, the journalist who died when on a hunger strike in prison, and Sattar Beheshti, the blogger who was killed in police custody. Ghaderi spent 40 days in solitary confinement because of his protests against conditions in the prison. He was freed on July 14, having served his full sentence. The prison officials were afraid people would gather outside the gate of Evin Prison when he was released, so they put him straight into a car.
This is part of IranWire’s series Crime: Journalism, a portfolio on the legal and political persecution of Iranian journalists and bloggers, published in both Persian and English.
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