Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Seyed Tabib Taghizadeh, journalist and editorial board member of the website Baztab-e-Emrooz, has received a phone call from branch 1 of Evin Prison’s Office of Enforcement summoning him to serve a prison sentence–but that’s not all.
While Taghizadeh had been living in the shadow of the two-year suspended imprisonment issued to him in April 2018 for “acting against national security through connections with antagonistic media,” his attorney Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabai told HRANA that new constraints have been tacked onto his client’s sentence, per a request from the bailiff of branch 23 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, presided by Judge Shahmirzadi.
“According to the [updated] verdict,” his attorney explained, “Mr. Taghizadeh […] will be banned from professional media activities for five years; he will also be prohibited for three years from traveling, political activity, membership in political parties, and cyber activities.” Per the terms of his amended sentence, Taghizadeh will also be mandated to present himself in Evin court once per year.
Taghizadeh was arrested for working to rehabilitate the Baztab-e-Emrooz website after it was filtered in his home during a February 8, 2016 raid by authorities. Upon his arrest, he was transferred to solitary confinement in ward 209 of Evin prison where he stayed for 36 days. After having a stroke in prison, he was released on bail.
A close source to Taghizadeh previously told HRANA that he proclaimed innocence, denying a relationship with the former editorial board of Baztab-e-Emrooz. However, the court cited instances of [filtered] web content that was later republished, such as news of an attack on Ayatollah Sanei’s office that had appeared in Farsi-language media outside of the country. Such instances were raised and accepted as sufficient evidence of Taghizadeh’s connection to “antagonistic” media.
Reporters Without Borders, a news agency specializing in the restrictions placed on reporters working across the world, identified Iran in its 2017 report as one of the world’s top 5 prison funnels for media activists. As imprisoned reporters are released after completing their sentences, more continue to find themselves on trial or behind bars for their work.