Iranian judiciary has announced that the recent arrest of formerly released journalist Ehsan Mazandarani is in connection with his former sentencing adding that Mazandarani will have to serve his full sentence.
Mizan Khabar reports that according to Tehran Prosecutor, statements regarding Mazandarani’s arbitrary arrest are unfounded and slammed media outlets and social networking sites that have highlighted it.
Mazandarani who is the former editor in chief of Farhikhtegan daily was however released in February 2017 after serving his full sentence, according to the jailed journalist’s spouse. He was rearrested on 11 March 2017.
Maliheh Hosseini has posted the official release documents of Mazandarani on Instagram. She has also written in his Twitter account that the officials have reacted to the documents saying there must have been an error in his release.
Those who came to arrest Mazandarani were agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Intelligence Organization. IRGC has been running a parallel intelligence agency to Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. The IRGC’s intelligence faction is known for suppressing journalists and making arbitrary arrests particularly in times of Elections.
Maliheh Hosseini writes: “Being a journalist is the highest crime. They [IRGC Intelligence Agency] fabricate false projects and charges but this brings them no satisfaction. Even when their unlawful charge is served, they cannot be appeased. With utmost shamelessness they say we released him by mistake!”
Hosseini, who is also a journalist and has lost her job because of her husband’s arrest, reports that her husband was arrested in a violent manner with the use of a Taser.
She adds that this treatments smells of new scheme set up by the Revolutionary Guards that if they are unhappy with any political prisoners’ release at the completion of their sentence, they can say the release was erroneous and re-arrest them.
She adds that her husband’s detainers have alleged that Mazandarani’s release was probably secured through under the table deals with the judiciary.
Meanwhile the Implementation of Culture and Media Court Provisions has announced that Evin Prison had released Mazandarani wrongly and the prisoner is regarded as a fugitive.
Reports indicate that Ehsan Mazandarani has gone on a dry hunger strike from the time of his arrest and his health, which has already been compromised by earlier hunger strikes, is severely strained.
Houshang Pourbabayi, counsel for Ehsan Mazandarani told ISNA that his client was released by signed orders from Evin Prison. He adds: “There may be several reasons for the release including completion of sentence, a pardon, or application of Article 58 of the penal code resulting in shortening of the sentence. Unfortunately, we were not informed of the reason for the release and simply welcomed the news.”
He states that his client has received no official letters from the judiciary to indicate that his sentence has not been served or that he needs to return to prison. Even the surety has not been informed that any terms of the bail has been violated.
Ehsan Mazandarani was arrested in a wave of arrests directed at journalists after the election of President Rohani in 2013 in a backlash from the conservative factions of the establishment. The judiciary charged Mazandarani and several others of links to an infiltration project in effect by the country’s enemies.
With the approach of the presidential elections in Iran in summer 2017, journalists appear to be facing a new wave of persecution from the authorities.
Hengameh Shahidi, political activist and reformist journalist was also arrested last week and has started a hunger strike. Other recent arrests include the arrest of Tahereh Riyahi, head of Borna News Service, Zeynab Karimian, former columnists for IRNA and Mehr news agencies and Saleh Deldam, film producer and director.