Career

Editor-in-chief of the Kermanshah Post; worked for Iranian Labor News Agency and other news agencies

Charges

Gathering and collusion to harm national security
Insulting the state authorities
Propaganda against the regime
Spreading lies to disturb the public mind

Sentence

Fined an amount of 1.5 million tomans ($460), which was waived since Pourmoradi had already spent 46 days in detention.

Date of Birth

22/5/1975

Status

Released

Farzad Pourmoradi Released

Farzad Pourmoradi, a journalist and political activist based in Kermanshah, was arrested at his home on January 4, 2016 by plainclothes officers, who also searched his home and confiscated items. He was released after 46 days. In July 2017, a Revolutionary Court acquitted him of “propaganda against the regime,” “assembly and collusion against national security” and “insulting state officials” but found him guilty of “spreading lies to disturb the public mind.” He was released after being issued a fine.

Reformist journalist Farzad Pourmoradi was Hassan Rouhani’s campaign manager for the city of Kermanshah during the 2013 election. He worked for media outlets across Kermanshah province including the Kermanshah Post, as well as for the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA). He was also the administrator of the Kalagh (“Raven”) News Telegram channel, which covered local news and local election analysis in Kermanshah. The channel became the target of attacks by media supporting the Revolutionary Guards.

Plainclothes Intelligence Ministry agents arrested Pourmoradi on January 4, 2016.  The agents searched his home, confiscated items including his mobile phone, and took him to an unknown location.

Pourmoradi’s arrest followed the arrests of four prominent journalists —Afarin Chitsaz, Ehsan Mazandarani, Saman Safarzai and Isa Saharkhiz — in the months leading up to the parliamentary elections in February 2016. The arrests were seen as an attempt to intimidate the media prior to the elections.

“Pourmoradi was not told why he had been taken into custody until two days after he was detained,” an informed source told the Center for Human Rights in Iran. “During the interrogations he was initially accused of having contacts with some unknown websites and questioned about the Kalagh News channel. But later he was accused of being an agent of the West in Kermanshah and humiliated and threatened under interrogation for long periods. One time he lost consciousness during the interrogation, fell down, and was moved to his solitary cell by his handlers.”

With all this pressure,” said the source, “interrogators wanted to force Pourmoradi to make a false confession about connections with the US, the Iranian opposition based abroad, and Persian-language foreign media. They wanted him to confess that he had acted against national and foreign security by providing information and intelligence about Kermanshah. But he protested about his condition during his detention, and because of his weak physique he became ill as a result of long hunger strikes.”

After being transferred to Ward 10 in Dizelabad Prison in Kermanshah, he was severely punished under terrible conditions so that he would give in to the interrogators’ demands, but he did not surrender,” added the source. “Finally, one of the interrogators identified as ‘Almasi’ formally charged him with ‘spreading lies for the purpose of disturbing public order,’ ‘insulting officials,’ ‘propaganda against the state’ and ‘acting against national and foreign security.’”

Pourmoradi was released on a bail amount of 90 million tomans ($28,000) after 46 days in detention. A week later he was admitted to Imam Hosseini Hospital in Kermanshah where he underwent surgery for an infected gallbladder. He suffered from heart problems while in prison and the doctors had prescribed that he should be transferred to an outside hospital [Persian link] but the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Corp prevented his release. Prison officials even prevented his family from visiting him when he was suffering poor health [Persian link].

“Pourmoradi was confined to his home after he was released because the Intelligence Ministry, without due process, annulled his employment contract with the Kermanshah governor’s office upon recommendation of the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization,” said the source. “After he complained about the Intelligence Ministry’s unlawful action, armed agents climbed the wall and raided his home on June 28. They threatened everyone [at his house] and took away his wife, who was released after 24 hours.”

Finally, in July 2017 the Revolutionary court acquitted him of “propaganda against the regime,” “assembly and collusion against national security” and “insulting state officials,” but found him guilty of “spreading lies to disturb the public mind” and was released after being a fine of 1.5 million tomans ($460) which he did not have to pay due to the time that he had already spent in detention.

“I will never forget the time [during my interrogation] when my head was shaved and my hands and feet were in chains and I was being forced to say things the interrogators wanted,” he wrote on his Facebook page after his release [Persian link].

 

Updated: October 26, 2017

Sources:

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), January 5, 2016

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), January 27, 2016

Democracy Center for Human Rights in Kurdistan (MAF News), February 5, 2016 (Persian)

Reporters without Borders (RSF), March 8, 2016

Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), December 21, 2016

Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), July 18, 2017

Please, enter a valid email