Career

Journalist; managing editor of the newspaper Farhikhtegan; worked with the newspapers Shargh, Aftab-e Yazd and Etemad.

Charges

Cooperating with foreign media

Status

In prison

Ehsan Mazandarani In prison

Ehsan Mazandarani, managing editor of the newspaper Farhikhtegan, was arrested on November 2, 2015 by intelligence agents of the Revolutionary Guards and taken to an unknown location.

A day after his arrest, his lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, told the Tasnim News Agency that, “apparently Ehsan Mazandarani has been informed of his charges but we have not been told about them. His case falls under Article 91, which means that the preliminary investigations are confidential and all individuals involved at this stage must keep it secret. Otherwise they would be charged with breaking the law,” the lawyer said.

At least four other journalists were detained in the first few days of November 2015. Within two days the Revolutionary Guards arrested Isa Saharkhiz, journalist and political activist, Afarin Chitsaz, a member of the editorial board of the newspaper Iran, and Saman Safarzaei, a member of the editorial board of the monthly publication Andisheh Pouya. The name of the fifth person has not been disclosed. The Intelligence Unit of the Revolutionary Guards has accused the arrested journalists of being members of an “infiltration network cooperating with hostile foreign governments.

However, the investigator for their cases had not been able to make a case for “infiltration”. Instead, the journalists have been charged with “propaganda against the regime,” “acting against national security” and “insulting authorities.”

After being held for months, Mazandarani's trial began on Monday, March 7 at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court. The branch is presided over by Judge Moghiseh, whom human rights organizations have repeatedly accused of violating judicial practice and the rights of defendants. 

It is not the first time Mazandarani has been detained. He was a reporter for the reformist newspaper Etemad when he was arrested at his home on February 20, 2013, accused of cooperating with the BBC. Security agents raided his house, seized his personal belongings and took him to Ward 209 of Evin Prison.

His arrest was part of a crackdown on journalists in Iran, which began on January 27, 2013 – a Sunday that came to be known as “Black Sunday”. 17 other journalists were arrested before Mazandarani. A day before his detention, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry released a statement claiming that “the journalists were part of a nefarious spy ring affiliated with the BBC,” according to the Committee to Protect Journalist.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported that, “the families of the detainees have repeatedly expressed concern that they may have been pressured to make forced confessions while in prison, emphasizing that the arrested journalists were not in contact with any foreign media.”

Mazandarani spent 19 days in detention, where he was repeatedly interrogated, before being released on bail on March 10, 2013.

After being held for months, Mazandarani's trial began on Monday, March 7 at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court. The branch is presided over by Judge Moghiseh, whom human rights organizations have repeatedly accused of violating judicial practice and the rights of defendants. 

Updated: March 9, 2016

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