Sarkuhi's family visits him briefly in jail

BONN, Sept 1 (AFP) - The family of imprisoned dissident Iranian writer Faraj Sarkuhi has been able to visit him for the first time in Shiraz prison in central Iran, according to a Berlin newspaper.

Sarkuhi's family informed the writer's wife, who lives in Berlin, of the visit by telephone, the Tageszeitung said in its Tuesday edition.

He appeared to be in very poor physicial and psychological condition, according to his mother, who added that their conversation lasted only eight minutes and that they were separated by a window.

The family said that prison staff refused the mother's request to speak with her son longer. He cried after expressing concern for his wife and two children, the paper added.

Sarkuhi, the former chief editor of the literary monthly Adineh, was among 134 writers and journalists who signed a petition in October 1994 calling for more freedom of expression in Iran.

He was arrested several times in 1996, once as he dined with the German cultural attache in Tehran in July and again in November as he prepared to take a flight to Germany where his wife lives.

He was arrested again in February for trying to flee the country illegally, the Iranian authorities said. He was then transferred to Shiraz, his home town.

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