#Human Rights
Ahmed Shaheed, UN, UNHCHR, State Department, EU, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, European Parliament

Journalist, blogger and IRNA reporter Siamak Ghaaderi, age 43, was sentenced to 4 years in prison in January, 2011.Siamak Ghaaderi who was detained on August 8th has been convicted of anti-regime propaganda, acting against national security and disturbing public opinion.

He was detained at his house in August of 2010 and transferred to prison.The security authorities had conditioned his release on the publication of articles in support of the government and the Supreme Leader on his blog (Our IRNA).

He always said there are three things in life that he was passionate about: “News, Journalism and Studying”. And it was his passion that finally drove this journalist to prison.

He is now spending his days in ward 350 of Evin prison, along with several of his colleagues. Siamak Ghaderi is a journalist best known as a government critic. As a senior reporter of IRNA [Islamic Republic News Agency], Siamak had not only been constantly challenging the management policies of this news agency on his weblog entitled “OurIRNA”, but also extended his criticisms to the government's policies, and continued to analyze the strategies of the leaders of the Green Movement after the 2009 presidential elections. It was these criticisms that ultimately led to his dismissal from IRNA despite eighteen years of work, and led to a four-year prison sentence, as well as a monetary fine and sixty lashes.

Charged with “propagating against the state”, “agitating the public” and “distributing fabricated information”, Siamak Ghaaderi spent months in the maximum security ward 209, much of it in solitary confinement and involving countless hours under interrogation. He had also conducted interviews with multiple Iranian homosexuals, immediately after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at Columbia University where he had famously said: “There are no homosexuals in Iran.” And this only added to the list of his charges. His one year in prison thus far has consisted of ten months in the Sepaah-(IRGIC)-controlled ward 209 and two months in ward 350 of Evin prison.

Siamak’s wife, a high school English teacher in Tehran, who is very distraught these days, says about her husband: “Siamak’s only crime is his love for his job as a journalist. THAT is what he is guilty of and nothing else. My husband has never reported anything but the truth. When he was told in court that he had participated in post-election protests; he responded that it was his duty to do so and that if a reporter doesn’t participate in these protests, then who should be filming or documenting or reporting about them?”

We the undersigned demand that the international community bring all possible pressure to bear upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to:

1. Free Siamak Ghaaderi immediately and unconditionally

2. Immediately vacate the four-year prison sentence and the charges against him, all of which are illegal under both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory state, and Article 24 of the Iranian Constitution.

3. Free all prisoners of conscience immediately and without exception.

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The Free Iranian Journalist Siamak Ghaaderi petition to Ahmed Shaheed, UN, UNHCHR, State Department, EU, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, European Parliament was written by John S. Burke and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.