- United Nations, International Governments and Human Rights Organizations
Keyvan Samimi (62 years old) is an Iranian journalist who was arrested on June the 14th 2009, soon after the presidential election, at the very beginning of the crackdown carried out by Iranian authorities.
He was chief editor of the now banned monthly Nameh ("Letter") and of the website Kharabat. He’s also a Human Rights activist and a member of the National Peace Council, the Committee against Arbitrary Detentions, the Committee in Defense of Citizens’ Rights, and the Right to Education Council. He was a political prisoner during the Shah's regime.
In June 2009, security forces broke into his house in the middle of the night, arrested him and confiscated his personal computer and belongings. According to his lawyer, Nasrin Sotudeh, she visited him for the first time on 10 September 2009 in presence of his interrogator. Mr. Samimi told her that he was beaten twice, and the prison’s doctor certified that the sign of torture was seen on his left leg. Sotudeh also said that she has had no access to his file, but during the visit, Mr. Samimi and his interrogator informed her that he was charged with membership in the illegal groups, including the "National Religious Coalition", the "National Peace Council", and the "Committee to Investigate Arbitrary Detentions" (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2009/09/report09/).
Since the day of his arrest, Keyvan Samimi spent long time in solitary confinement in Evin prison (Tehran). He was allowed to leave the prison briefly in two occasions: in december 2009, when his daughter got married, and for the Persian New Year, in march 2010. He was finally sent back to prison the morning of April 20.
Keyvan Samimi was at first sentenced to 6 years of jail and to a lifetime ban from any journalistic, social and political activity. The main charges in Keyvan Samimi’s indictment were propagandizing against the regime and conspiring against national security. The indictment also included charges such as participating in post-election protests and issuing statements questioning the validity of the election results.
The Court of Appeal upheld 6 years of imprisonment but reduced the ban from life to 15 years (http://www.rhairan.us/en/?p=5251).
In the summer 2010, Keyvan Samimi was one among the 17 political prisoners in ward 350 of Evin jail who were on hunger strike from 26 July to 10 August 2010, to protest against inhuman prison conditions, after their transfer to solitary confinement. Even if Samimi was the eldest among them, he was also on "dry" hunger strike for almost a week (4-10 August) along with journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amouii and students’ leader Majid Tavakoli. Furthermore, he did't break the strike when his younger fellow inmates did. He has continued his protest until he and all his ‘imprisoned children’ have been transferred from solitary confinement to the general ward of Evin prison.
He ended his hunger strike after 24 days.
He was arrested on June 14, 2009, and sentenced by the Revolutionary Court to 6 years of prison and a lifetime ban from social and political activities. Branch 54 of the Court of Appeals upheld the sentence to 6 years of prison and reduced the ban from life to 15 years.
During his detention, Keyvan Samimi spent long time in solitary confinement, and he was repeatedly beaten and pressured to make a false confession. His lawyer couldn't have access to his file.
The main charges in Keyvan Samimi’s indictment were propagandizing against the regime and conspiring against national security. The indictment also included charges such as participating in post-election protests and issuing statements questioning the validity of the election results.
Yet we think that Keyvan Samimi was detained and sentenced solely for his peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression, recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and established in international law by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, signed and ratified by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Therefore we believe Keyvan Samimi’s detention is unlawful and unmotivated. We consider his right to defence was heavily affected and his trial was unfair.
We are also seriously concerned about Keyvan Samimi’s health condition, as he has been 24 days on hunger strike from July 26 to August 18 2010.
That’s why we ask the United Nations, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Governments and organizations for the defense of Human Rights to urge Iranian authorities to release Keyvan Samimi immediately and unconditionally.
We also ask them to ensure that Keyvan Samimi’s rights as a detainee will be respected, and that he shall not suffer from any further mistreatment while he’s imprisoned.