IRAN : Ali Farahbakhsh (m), journalist Further Information on UA 40/07 (MDE 13/018/2007, 16 February 2007) and follow-up (MDE 13/046/2007, 26 April 2007) - Arbitrary arrest/medical concern/possible prisoner of conscience

MDE 13/121/2007 - 18 October 2007

Ali Farahbakhsh was released on 9 October. He had spent 11 months in prison.

He had been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran on 26 March, convicted of "espionage" and "receiving money from foreigners". According to an interview his lawyer gave to the Iranian Students’ News Agency, his prison term was reduced on appeal to 16 months. He was then granted an early conditional release.

Ali Farahbakhsh had been arrested on 27 November 2006, when he returned from a conference in the Thai capital, Bangkok, on government and the media, organised by Thai NGOs. His arrest was only made public on 6 January. The Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi, ordered that he be released on bail, but he remained in Section 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison, where he served 10 months of his sentence.

Ali Farahbakhsh reportedly applied for leave from prison to get hospital treatment for an eye condition, but was denied.

Ali Farahbakhsh is a journalist specializing in economics and has written articles for a range of Iranian newspapers, including Sobh-e Emruz, Norouz, Yas-e No and Sarmayeh. All of these newspapers, except Sarmayeh, were closed on orders of the Tehran judiciary between 2004 and 2006.

Many thanks to all who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

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