Insulting Iranian officials
Propaganda against regime
18 months' imprisonment
On 14 April 2004, the Tabriz Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced Ensafali Hedayat to 18 months’ imprisonment: one year for the charge of “defamation of major government officials” and six months for “propaganda against the regime”. Hedayat was released from prison in June 2015, after serving the 18 months.
Hedayat is a freelance journalist and has written for various reformist newspapers. As an independent journalist, he traveled to Berlin, Germany, to cover the 2004 summit of the United Republicans of Iran. On 16 January 2004, only a few hours after returning from this summit, security agents raided his house. He was arrested, and his notes, computer drives and disks were confiscated.
Prior to this incident, Hedayat had only been arrested once before. On June 16, 2003, when he was covering the Tabriz University students protest, Hedayat was detained and kept for 27 days in solitary confinement until he was eventually released on a US$50,000 bail.
After the first detainment, he wrote an open letter to Seyed Mohammad Khatami, the president at that time, and complained about the physical torture he experienced during those days – torture that was executed by highly-ranked security and police officers. In the letter, he also mentioned Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian-Canadian journalist who was murdered in prison. In comparison, he wrote, he considered himself lucky just to be alive.
Hedayat has left Iran and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.