World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Ahmad Zeidabadi, Iran - Jailed since June 2009

Ahmad Zeidabadi, Iran - Jailed since June 2009

Article ID:

17628

Day 7
Country: Iran
Journalist: Ahmad Zeidabadi
Media: Azad and others
Jailed since: June 13, 2009

Suggested Tweet:

#FreethePress calls for the release of Ahmad Zeidabadi and all journalists jailed in #Iran bit.ly/1oOWCa5

.@HassanRouhani #FreethePress calls for the release of Ahmad Zeidabadi and all journalists jailed in #Iran bit.ly/1ixgbuN


Prominent Iranian journalist and political scientist Dr. Ahmad Zeidabadi is currently serving a six-year prison sentence and is banned for life from the profession of journalism. Throughout his career – from his days as a student leader to becoming a prolific journalist – Zeidabadi has relentlessly displayed a commitment to freedom of expression, human rights and democracy. Zeidabadi is a former chief editor of Azad newspaper and his work has appeared in the Tehran-based daily Hamshahari, on the BBC Persian service, and on the Persian/English news site RoozAfter. In 2010, he was awarded WAN-IFRA's Golden Pen of Freedom for repeatedly braving the dangers of journalism in Iran.

Share our protest letter for Ahmad Zeidabadi bit.ly/1ixgbuN

"Zeidabadi is a liberal, and a democrat. He has always defended the rights of those who think differently,” said his friend and investigative journalist Akbar Ganji in 2010. “He believes that it is the inalienable right of people to change their ideas and be free to choose the way they live.”

However, this approach carries great risk in Iran and has landed Zeidabadi several times in the notorious Evin prison in the northern outskirts of Tehran. In the wake of the disputed 2009 elections that saw the reformist Green Movement fail in its bid for power, Zeidabadi was arrested again on charges of various anti-state crimes. He was sentenced to six-years in jail and banned forever from taking part in any journalistic or political activity, from interviews to analysis in oral or written form.

“He uses the might of his pen not just to tell the truth and expose political corruption,” said Ganji, “but in addition, he also tries responsibly to use his pen and his ideas to make the world more ethical, reduce people's pain and suffering.”

Iran has long kept tight reins on journalism and strictly controls the entry and movement of foreign journalists within its borders. Prominent journalists often rotate in and out of jail and opposition publications are routinely censored or shut down. Zeidabadi’s sentencing in 2009 was part of a widespread government attempt to suppress and silence post-election protests, which saw at least 110 journalists jailed, 20 news media censored, and forced many more into exile. Today, Iran has become the leading jailer of journalists worldwide with 35 reporters behind bars as of December 2013, according the Committee to Protect Journalists.

After eight brutal years for journalists in Iran under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the election of moderate Hassan Rouhani has brought new hope for expanded freedoms - even with his limited powers under the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. International rights activists are encouraging Rouhani to push for legislation that would explicitly define and protect freedom of speech.


Suggested Tweet:

#FreethePress calls for the release of Ahmad Zeidabadi and all journalists jailed in #Iran bit.ly/1oOWCa5

.@HassanRouhani #FreethePress calls for the release of Ahmad Zeidabadi and all journalists jailed in #Iran bit.ly/1ixgbuN


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wm_WanIfra

Date

2014-04-10 10:34

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Andrew Heslop

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