Human Rights Defender: Emadeddin Baghi

28 Dec

In a recent AP report, Emadeddin Baghi, who was arrested on 15th October by the Iranian authorities for violating national security, had fainted while taking a shower in prison. They believed that his current condition is due to a nervous breakdown.

In 2000, he had been sentenced to a three-year jail term for writings “against the regime”. He served a two year sentence then for his works on the series of murders involving Iranian intellectuals, and was detained again this October, for another year (from his last sentence) for continuing his activities, which were spreading, “propaganda against the system” and “publishing secret government documents” .

State repression has manifested itself in various forms and extended to include his family.

After being released in 2003, he has been summoned to court 23 times. His wife, Fatemeh Kamali Ahmad Sarahi and daughter, Maryam Baghi, were given three-year suspended prison sentences and five years of probation for participating in human rights workshops in Dubai in 2004.

The man is also an active campaigner for the past few years, against the death penalty, especially of those languishing in Iranian prison. He formed the Society for the Defense of Prisoners’ Rights, in 2003 and the Society of Right to Life Guardians in 2005 to tackle these issues. On the death penalty, he wrote to the authorities in 2006, including ex president, Mohammad Khatami, on the increased number of executions. By October 2007, Iran is officially reported to have carried out no less than 207 executions this year alone, a figure higher than 2006. Baghi has also voiced criticisms against “stoning” as a form of punishment for adultery in Iran.

As an intellectual, he has written 20 books, of which six has been banned in the country. The first book, “A Study About the Clerics” which called for a more open Islam that should be subjected to individual, rather than clerical interpretation was banned. “Realities and Judgments” which described the violent suppression of opposition in Iran, was published illegally and anonymously in 1991, and extensively destroyed by the government upon release. He is also a journalist, writing on mostly social and political issues for various newspapers and magazines since 1983.

As a recipient of the 2004 Civil Courage Prize, awarded by the Train Foundation, he was prevented from leaving the country to receive the award. The next year, he was given the French Human Rights Prize for his work against the death penalty. Human rights organisations, Reporters Without Borders; Human Rights Watch; and Amnesty International have all condemned his imprisonment as being politically motivated and measures to curb freedom of speech in Iran.

Emadeddin Baghi, considered one of Iran’s leading dissident, has also voiced criticisms against the US for funding “democracy promotion” activities in Iran, as it gives the government a cover to clamp down on human rights activism in the country.

===

References:

1. Jailed Iran rights activist in hospital, AP, 27 December 2007

2. Emadeddin Baghi, Wikipedia, extracted on 28 December 2007

3. Iran: Release Leading Defender of Prisoners’ Rights; Emadeddin Baghi Jailed Under Politically Motivated Charges, Human Rights Watch, 16 October, 2007

4. Prisoners’ Rights Activist Arrested and Detained, WorldPress.org, Niusha Boghrati, 16 October, 2007

5. Prominent Iranian Human Rights Defender Emaddedin Baghi Detained, Amnesty International USA, extracted on 28 December 2007

His writings:

1. Iran’s new era: nine lessons for reformers, OpenDemocracy, Emadeddin Baghi, 2 August 2005

2. Hope for Democracy in Iran, Washington Post, 25 October 25, 2004

3. More of his writings in English can also be found at Emadbaghi.com

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One Response to “Human Rights Defender: Emadeddin Baghi”

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  1. The Persecution of Iranian activists… « Readings From A Political Duo-ble - May 28, 2008

    […] rights defender, Emadeddin Baghi. The writer’s plight has been highlighted previously in this blog who has been detained since October last year. He suffered a seizure on 7 May and the human rights […]

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