Ahmadinejad’s Media Blitz Unfolds as Young Activists Receive Harsh Sentences
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

(21 September 2010) – While Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has proclaimed Iran’s respect for human rights and freedoms during his current New York media blitz, several prominent young Iranian students, human rights defenders, and journalists received harsh jail sentences in recent days, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.

In several cases, young Iranians have been jailed for “insulting the President,” the Campaign emphasized. Overall, at least 500 prisoners of conscience are held in Iranian jails.

“The hypocrisy and cynicism of Iran’s president on display in New York insults the dignity of all whom he claims to represent, and the integrity of the international human rights system,” said Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Two internationally recognized human rights defenders, Emad Baghi and Shiva Nazar Ahari, were sentenced to six year prison terms as Ahmadinejad arrived in New York. An appeals court also confirmed an eight and a half year sentence for student leader Majid Tavakoli. Other prominent young activists, such as Bahareh Hedayat and Milad Asadi, languish in Iranian jails, serving lengthy prison sentences.