Isa Saharkhiz: Prisoner of the day

Journalist serving 5 years in prison for “insulting supreme leader”

CPJ:On July 3, 2009, Saharkhiz, a columnist for the reformist news websites Rooz Online and Norooz and a founding member of the Association of Iranian ‎Journalists, was arrested while traveling in northern Iran, the association said in a ‎statement. ‎His lawyer said his client was charged with “participation in riots,” “encouraging others to participate in riots,” and “insulting the supreme leader,” according to Rooz Online.

Saharkhiz was sentenced to three years in prison, a five-year ban on political and journalistic activities, and a one-year ban on foreign travel, the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported in September 2010. In an interview with Radio Zamaneh, Mehdi Saharkhiz said his father would not appeal the court’s decision. “He said that all sentencing is made under [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei’s direct supervision and the judiciary has nothing to do with it. Therefore, neither the lower court nor the appeals court is official in any way, and they are only for show.” On 4 August 2011, Issa Saharkhiz was sentenced to an additional two years in prison for what the court vaguely called "his prior journalistic activities," increasing his prison sentence to five years.

Saharkhiz has had a long career in journalism. He worked for 15 years for IRNA, Iran’s official news agency, and ran its New York office for part of that time. He returned to Iran in 1997 to work in Mohammad Khatami’s Ministry of Islamic Guidance, in charge of domestic publications. Journalist Ahmad Bourghani and Saharkhiz came to be known as the architects of a period of relative freedom for the press in Iran. But as the regime took a more conservative bent, Saharkhiz was forced to leave the ministry and was eventually banned from government service. He founded a reformist newspaper, Akhbar-e-Eghtesad, and monthly magazine, Aftab, both of which were eventually banned. He wrote articles directly critical of Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.

During his imprisonment, which began at Evin Prison, Saharkhiz was subjected to constant pressure, including being kept in a prison yard overnight in freezing temperatures without shoes or socks, according to Rooz Online.

Saharkhiz’s son, Mehdi, told the BBC Persian service that the journalist had waged a hunger in October 2011. Mehdi Saharkhiz expressed concern about his father's well-being, telling the BBC that the journalist suffered from blood pressure, spine, and neck problems. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported on 8 January 2012 that Issa Saharkhiz has been transferred to a hospital in Tehran, where he has remained for the past month, foot- and hand-cuffed to his bed while receiving medical treatment.

Video: Isa Saharkhiz's son Mehdi: "I Confess"


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more from Ghormeh Sabzi

Powerful & Moving Speech his son gave.

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

That was very strong.  I confess.  Seeking Freedom & Justice is up to us.

Tiger Lily

IC loudmouth anti-IRI cyber warriors, shame on you!

by Tiger Lily on

It takes a German like radius-of-the-persian-cat to take the initiative and action to do something for greater awareness






multi-lingual translations of Isa Saharkhiz' letter from prison

by radius-of-the-persian-cat on

Together with messages from other political prisoners I put a letter from Isa Saharkhiz to the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur on a web site (Evin-Rosetta). His letter is currently available there in persian, english, french, german and chinese. If somebody would like to provide translation into more languages and have it published, please go the website // or e-mail to


Doorood bar tamame Iranian e mobarez...

by Bavafa on

These are the jem of our people and they need our support for their immidiate and unconditional freedom.

My hats off to all of the brave Iranians who are standing up against tyranny.

'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory 



All Iranian.political

by Simorgh5555 on

All Iranian.political prisoners who fought against this regime should be honoured but his imprisonment confirms that the reform movement has failed and any attempt to resurrect it will be brutally put down by Ali Khamenei's lackies. Iran does not need martyrs Going on hunger will not change the wicked nature of this regime. Nothing but pure unadulterated deadly force against this regime wil force it to change.


We can fight against fascist IRI with one voice

by ahosseini on

We need to set up a powerful organisation made up of all opposition individuals and groups. All individual and groups opposing the IRI have two things in common. They are all equally suppressed by IRI and they all claim they want democracy and free election. Therefore we should have no hesitation fighting with one voice opposing torture, rape execution, murder, disappearance of political prisoners(the bravest individuals in our society) as well as asking for free election. The only way we can create this powerful organisation is to get everyone involved. That can be achieved if the organisation truly represent Iranians by direct vote. We can set up an Iranian parliament in exile. Each MP must represent for example, 20 to 30 Iranian in each major city. We need to call for a public meeting and ask every 20 to 30 to elect their representative. These representatives work together to bring this Islamic regime down. These representative do not need to have group affiliation. Once we overthrow the regime, individuals and groups campaign around their own manifestos and program of action that can range from extreme left to extreme right. In a free Iran, people elect their preferred choice. These programs can then be of any nature. The real parliament will represent different ideas. Come on everybody we can do it. Let's practice democracy, initially around these two points. Let's give this movement a chance. Get popular Iranians, specially ex-political prisoners involved. Call for a public meeting today. Tomorrow is one day late. by tomorrow many have been tortured, raped, killed and disappeared. Save the life of these innocent brave political prisoners and free Iran from these fascist monsters and in a democratic way, a method that we all deserve. This is easily done. We set up a database made up of two tables. We create one table for members and one for representatives and link them together. We will then issue an ID card for each member. In the meeting we will ask candidates or supporters of a candidate to collect 30 names with ID numbers on a sheet of paper. A member can only vote for one person. This is my humble opinion and proposal. Please suggest yours.

Believe in a democracy that leaders and representatives are controlled by members at all times.