Wednesday, February 13, 2008

IRAN: Death sentence for yet another journalist

Yagoub Mehrnahad, journalist and director of a youth association called "Voice of Justice" (Sedaye Edalat) has been sentenced to death in a court in Sistan Baluchestan province (southeastern Iran).

The so called court held a session behind closed doors, and its decision was delivered to Mr.Mehrnahads' family on 7 February.

Apparently the "Voice of Justice"" association was a legally established entity, and had been registered in the "National Youth Organization" which is a governmental organization as an NGO engaged in promoting literacy amongst the poor and also providing fundamental aid to the poverty stricken province of Sistan Baluchestan.

Mr. Mehrnahad has also been director to "Mardom Salary" news paper in Sistan Baluchestan province.

After the last yearly "Questioner and Responsive youth" convention, which was organized 10 months ago, some members of the central committee of the" Voice of Justice" association were arrested, including Yagoub Mehrnahad. Five of the arrested were released after a while, where as Mr. Mehrnahad is still undergoing pressure after 10 months of captivity.

During this period, he spent five months in the Intelligence Ministry torture center, and later was continued to be held for another two months in the central Zahedan Prison, with no official court verdict.

Last month, a court session was held, but no verdict was released, instead Mr. Mehrnahad was transferred to the Intelligence Ministry detention torture centre once again.

A relative, who had visited Mr. Mehrnahad two months ago, had reporter apparent signs of severe physical torture and loss of weight.

The death sentenced has not been officially declared by judiciary or any other government official. His family believes the real verdict has not been the death sentence. They also believe that Yaghoub Mehrnahad, has been forced to admit to uncommitted crimes under a lot of pressure.

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