Authorities sentenced Isa Saharkhiz to six months in jail on June 19, just two months after his release from prison in April. A day after his release, he was re-arrested on a new insult charge. The June 19 sentence refers to the newer charge.
Saharkhiz had been in prison since November 2, 2015, when Revolutionary Guards arrested him and accused him of being part of an “infiltration network.”
Guards arrested fellow journalists Ehsan Mazandarani, Afarin Chitsaz, and Saman Safarzaei and the brother of a journalist, Davoud Asadi, a day later on similar charges. In April 2016, all three were given long prison sentences, but Saharkhiz was tried separately.
After he was re-arrested in April, authorities informed Saharkhiz that he was being punished for insulting former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the head of Iran’s judiciary.
His lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabatei, appealed the verdict. Following the June 19 ruling, he confirmed that Saharkhiz had been convicted of insulting the head of the judiciary. But he also said that his client’s criticism had been of a personal nature and so it could not be considered a political crime. He said they planned to appeal again.
While in prison, Saharhkiz staged several hunger strikes and required medical treatment in hospital.