This Monday, November 1, journalist Reza Taleshian Jolodarzadeh, who has been on furlough since mid-September, was released from The Greater Tehran Prison.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, while he was on furlough Jolodarzadeh was granted an imprisonment intolerance certificate by forensic medicine, and will therefore not be required to return to prison.
In June 2019, Reza Taleshian Jolodarzadeh was sentenced to three years in prison, a fine of 40 million rials and two years prohibition from any political or journalistic activities on charges of “propaganda against the regime, spreading lies and disturbing public opinions on the internet”. The verdict was upheld by the appellate court.
In January 2021, Jolodarzadeh was summoned by Branch 1 of the Executive Unit of Evin Prison to endure his sentence in The Greater Tehran Prison. On February 12, despite having regular seizures, he was not allowed to be dispatched to a hospital outside the prison. Jolodarzadeh is an injured veteran of the Iran-Iraq war and suffers from a serious brain lesion.
On March 2, Jolodarzadeh went on a hunger strike to protest authorities’ refusal to take his medical needs seriously. After one week, he ended the hunger strike after hospitalization and receiving medical treatment. Once again, on April 28, in protest against prison’s officials’ inattention to his demands and requirements, he went on a hunger strike. After a while, he ended his strike after officials promised to meet his demands.
On July 14, he went furlough from The Greater Tehran Prison as well as once again on September 22, for medical treatment and providing medicines. This time, forensic medicine issued an imprisonment intolerance certificate whereby he was set free.
Reza Taleshian Jolodarzadeh is the Editor of the newspaper “Sobhe-Azadi” , which was banned by the regime in 2011.
On Wednesday, October 5, Manoochehr Aghai, Editor of the news outlet Miandoab Press, was sent to Miandoab Prison to begin his sentence.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Aghai had previously been sentenced to eight months in prison on a charge of “propaganda against the regime”.
Aghai was sentenced in absentia. During the trial, published online news reports and viewers’ comments under his posts on social media were invoked as evidence against him.
Following turnover in the Tehran-Municipality-owned Hamshahri newspaper’s managerial board, the extension of staff members’ contracts is being influenced by answers they give to a set of probing personal questions about their lifestyle and beliefs.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Fararu, employees are being asked questions such as “Why haven’t you married?” and “Why didn’t you vote in the election?”.
“It seems to be very serious,” journalist Mohsen Zohuri, commented. “They held an inquisition meeting for the journalists of Hamshahri and asked the question like ‘Why don’t you go to Congregational prayer?’, ‘Did you vote on such and such election?’, ‘How many chapters of Quran have you memorized?’, “Why did you get divorced?’ or ‘Why haven’t you married?’ ”
Changes in management in Tehran Municipality led to the appointment of a new director at Hamshahri newspaper. The new director has reportedly spearheaded this new procedure for extending contracts, and it is being applied to even the publication’s most tenured reporters.
“The new management in Hamshahri newspaper has set an inquisition meeting for its well-experienced and professional journalists,” a member of the Board of Directors of the Journalists’ Guild Association wrote on his personal page on social media. “They have to answer the irrelevant questions which means nothing but spying on personal lives and has nothing whatsoever to do with their occupation. I hope someone comes forward to explain that.”