Isa (Issa) Saharkhiz: Request for his release from Prison
On 13 June 2009 it was announced that President Ahmadinejad had won the presidential election. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians were subjected to draconian restrictions by the Iranian authorities of the right to freedom of expression.
Access to the Internet was and continues to be blocked or severely disturbed. Since the announcement of the election results, it is prohibited for Iranian newspapers to publish information about the unrest. Foreign journalists were banned from the streets, and some foreign reporters were expelled from the country.
According to Amnesty International representatives investigations, at least 2277 people were arrested by the police or the Basij militia during and after demonstrations across the country since 12 June 2009. This includes information from those close to well-known political figures such as Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and former President Khatami, who supported the campaign of Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Even human rights defenders and journalists have been arrested. On 16 June 2009, the lawyer and human rights defenders in detention Abdolfattah Soltani (UA-160/2009 of 19 June 2009). Journalist Saeed Hajjarian, who formerly belonged to the City Council of Tehran, and was advisor to former President Mohammad Khatami, was arrested on 16 June 2009. Since an attack in 2000, he is confined to a wheelchair. He was transferred from Evin prison to hospital on 3rd July 2009 (UA-159/2009 of 18 June 2009). On 24 June 2009 70 university graduates were arrested as they left a meeting with Mir Hossein Mousavi in his office. All but four were later released.
Among the detainees are Dr Ghorban Behzadian, the campaign manager of Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Ardeshir Amir Arjomand, a law professor at the Shahid Beheshti University. Hundreds more people were arrested during the demonstrations against the election results by security forces using excessive force. Many were beaten and killed by authorities. A total of 20 deaths were originally claimed. The actual number of fatalities, however, is far higher.
The journalist Issa Saharkhiz was arrested on 4 July 2009. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience, held in prison solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression - including his opinion about the presidential elections. Issa Saharkhiz is in danger of being tortured or mistreated in other ways.
The journalist had supported the presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi in the election campaign. He was arrested on the 4th July in northern Iran and taken to an unknown place. Although his family and his lawyer have been trying to get information about the arrest of Issa Saharkhiz and his place of detention, the Iranian authorities failed to provide this information for a considerable time. It is now known He has been held at Evin Prison since July 4, 2009.
Update: Isa Saharkhiz, renowned journalist, was transferred from Evin to Rajai Shahr prison last year after the execution of a number of Kurdish citizens. Rajai Shahr prison is notorious for its inhumane conditions and prison officials are generally indifferent towards the health and well being of prisoners.