Ahmad Zeid-Abadi, an Iranian journalist and political analyst who was imprisoned following Iran’s disputed presidential election in June, has been awarded the 2010 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).
Mr Zeid-Abadi is known for an open letter he wrote from prison in 2000 protesting the judiciary’s treatment of imprisoned journalists. The letter was widely distributed despite attempts by authorities to suppress its publication.
His work led Iranian authorities to imprison him again in August on a six-year sentence, and to impose a lifetime ban on practicing his profession as a journalist.
In making the award, the Board of WAN-IFRA said: “All journalists are aware of the dangers of challenging the autocratic regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the actions of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. Mr Zeid-Abadi has chosen to repeatedly brave them and publicly support reform and the rule of law in Iran. He was sentenced to six years in prison, five years in internal exile in the town of Gonabad and a lifetime writing ban in the wake of the disputed presidential election in June. Mr Zeid-Abadi has refused to give in, despite the horrific conditions in which he is being held, and his courage makes us feel very humble. We hope Mr Zeid-Abadi’s sentence will be overturned.”