Jailed journalist handed a fresh sentence

Issa Saharkhiz, a jailed Iranian journalist, has been handed another sentence as he nears the end of his initial three-year sentence.

Mehdi Saharkhiz, the son of the persecuted journalist, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that while his father has almost reached the end of his three-year jail term and should have been released soon, it appears that he has been sentenced to another year and a half in prison.

The medical commission has already established that Issa Saharkhiz is not physically fit to serve out his sentence and must be granted sick leave.

The prominent journalist has already suffered a heart attack in jail and has been hospitalized since last March.

Mehdi Saharkhiz reported that the new charge is connected with an earlier case against his father from when he was director of economic news more than 11 years ago. The case seems to have been reopened, and an appeals court has reduced a two-year suspended sentence to one and half years in jail, which he apparently has to serve now.

The jailed journalist’s son reports that, according to the Islamic Republic penal code, prisoners become eligible for parole once they serve one-third of their sentence, and he adds that in the case of his father, who has been severely sick, he should have been released long ago.

He added that while his family has been paying for his father’s hospitalization over the past four months, they are also burdened with the cost of keeping four officers stationed in his room to guard him.

Mehdi Saharkhiz went on to add that his family is paying three million toumans each month, while their income is not even a fifth of that amount.

He claimed the prison system can’t afford to keep the prisoners and, therefore, it is getting prisoners to pay for their own incarceration.

Issa Saharkhiz, a prominent journalist and government critic, was arrested in July of 2009 during the crackdown on election protesters.

He was sentenced to three years in jail for “insulting the leader” and “propaganda activities against the regime.”

Last July, he wrote a letter to Ahmad Shaheed, the UN rapporteur on Iran, urging him to investigate the “catastrophic” situation of prisoners in Iran as soon as possible.

Source: Radio Zamaneh

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