#Human Rights
UN, UNHCHR, US State Department, EU, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, European Parliament, AI, HRW

Masoud Bastani, 32-year-old journalist was born in Arak. He has been editor of Jomhouriat website, and has had journalism backgrounds in Shargh newspaper, Jomhouriat and Kargozaran. He was arrested in 2002 and 2005 before of his recent arrest.

He was sentenced to six months imprisonment for defending Akbar Ganji and other political prisoners, and he spent this term in 2005 in prison of Arak.

Masoud Bastani was arrested on 5th July 2009, while he was referred to the court to track the status of his arrested wife, Mahsa Amrabadi. Earlier, security forces had gone to his house to arrest him, but when he was not at home, they arrested his wife and she had been transferred to Evin prison.

Masoud Bastani was arrested along with other political activists and journalists in Iran after the disputed presidential election. He was forced to confess against himself – in one of the Stalinist show trials which followed the post-election protests- due to severe physical and psychological pressure during interrogation, as was also the case with other defendants.

In the fourth trial, he was forced to discuss subjects and heavy charges against himself, rather than defense. One of the factors in his confessions was his detained wife who had been kept in prison to pressure him.

Mohamed Sharif – Masoud Bastani’s lawyer – was not allowed to meet with his client or to access the case file. He said about the court on 26th August 2010: “One cannot call this ceremony a judicial trial.”

Bastani was sentenced to six years in prison in September. This sentence includes: one year on charge of propaganda against the system, and five years on charge of gathering and colluding to create anarchy. He also was sentenced to a fine of the amount that was uncertain.

Bastani was transferred from Evin prison to Rajaei -Shahr prison on 25th January 2010, and was kept in “Prison for murderers”. It was unlawful act and contrary to the principle of separation and classification of prisoners. Additionally, and contrary to Iranian prison statutes, Bastani has been denied any prison leave.

On June 2, 2011 Bastani was viciously beaten by a prison guard in front of his visiting mother, wife and mother-in-law. After simply requesting that the guard allow him a couple of extra minutes to say goodbye to his loved ones, the guard grabbed him by the collar and banged his head against the wall.

We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Masoud Bastani. He is a prisoner of conscience who has been imprisoned and repeatedly mistreated solely for performing his duties as a journalist, and exercising his rights to freedom of expression and opinion as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as Article 24 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran‏.

We further demand that the international community act forcefully to compel the Islamic Republic of Iran to cease all acts of brutality against and mistreatment of prisoners.

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The Free Masoud Bastani, Iranian Journalist And Prisoner Of Conscience petition to UN, UNHCHR, US State Department, EU, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, European Parliament, AI, HRW was written by John S. Burke and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.