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Hard-liners in Iran soften their edges

Christian Science Monitor - By Scott Peterson
Oct 3, 2003
7 posted on 10/04/2003 12:19:03 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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IRAN - Authorities urged to give medical care to imprisoned
journalist Mohsen Sazgara

MONTREAL, Oct. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders called today on the Iranian authorities to give immediate news and guarantees about the state
of health of imprisoned journalist Mohsen Sazgara, a prominent reformist who
has heart problems and has been very weakened by a hunger-strike staged since
he was jailed on 15 June.
Since 14 August, his family has not had word of him and not been able to
see him in prison. He was transferred on 2 October from Teheran's Evin prison
to Baghiatollah Hospital, where Canadian-Iranian journalist died in July after
being beaten at Evin.
"We demand that Sazgara's family doctor be allowed to see him," said the
press freedom organisation's secretary-general, Robert Ménard. "His life must
not be endangered in any way, either health-wise, which would suit some
people, or by being beaten, which is not unusual at Evin prison, as the
attacks on Kazemi there have shown.
"We also call on the European Commission to press the authorities for an
inspection of the country's prisons," he said.
Sazgara, one of the founders of Iran's reformist press, published the
daily papers Jameh, Neshat and Tous, which have all been suspended, and is the
founder of the Internet website, which was closed after his
An outspoken political commentator, he wrote that "the past five years
have shown that the country's religious rulers are neither reformable nor
effective." He also called the Guide of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, "dictatorial." He was charged with undermining state security,
insulting the Guide and making propaganda against the state, and jailed for a
year on 27 September.
Sazgara is a thorn in the side of the predators of press freedom, who
fear that once he gets out of jail he will reveal details of his conditions of
detention and the practices of officials inside Evin prison.
Several journalists currently in jail are under the supervision of
hardline Teheran prosecutor Said Mortazavi and the Guardians of the Revolution
and are being held in the same section of the prison where Kazemi was beaten.
With 17 journalists in jail, Iran is the biggest prison for journalists in the
Middle East.

For further information: Emily Jacquard, Reporters sans frontières Canada, (514) 521-4111, Cell:
(514) 258-4208, Fax: (514) 521-7771;
8 posted on 10/04/2003 3:27:58 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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