Iranian journalist Kayvan Samimi starts three-year jail term

  • 10 Dec 2020

Veteran editor given three-year prison term, just one day after his arrest.

Veteran editor-in-chief of Iran-e-Farda magazine, Kayvan Samimi, began his three-year prison term on 8 December, after being jailed for "inflaming citizens and taking part in illegal public meetings", among other charges.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Association of Iranian Journalists (AIJ), condemned his illegal imprisonment, just one day after he was arrested, and demanded his immediate release from the notorious Evin prison.

Kayvan Samimi, 72, was convicted in absentia on 20 April by branch 26 of the revolutionary court of Tehran on charges that included having founded the socialist movement's People's Liberation Party 22 years ago, being the chief editor of the center-left magazine Iran-e-Farda, inflaming citizens and taking part in illegal public meetings.

He was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of conspiracy against the security of the country and to one additional year on charges of propaganda activities against the Islamic Republic. However, Kayvan Samimi objected to these charges, and his final sentence was reduced to 3 years at a court hearing on 19 May. This decision was confirmed in an appeal on 14 June.

Kayvan Samimi is also the chair of the board of the Association for Defending Freedom in Iran, and before becoming the editor in chief of Iran-e-Farda, he served as chief editor of Nameh magazine.

It isn't the first time that Kayvan Samimi has been jailed. He was previously arrested on 1 May 2019 with Shargh newspaper's reporter, Marzieh Amiri, during his participation in a peaceful demonstration on labour day, protests that demanded the right to establish independent labour organisations.

Kayvan Samimi had also served six years in jail from 2009 to 2015 for his coverage of the 2009 elections.

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:

"Protesting and raising voices in support of workers' rights cannot be punished with imprisonment. Iran's government must stop its attacks and repression against journalists on fabricated charges that are simply used to silence the press. Samimi is a well-respected journalist who has spent his life fighting for the truth. We demand his immediate release. These arbitrary detentions have to end."

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