Reporters Without Borders

Iranian authorities “responsible for journalist's death”

Iranian authorities “responsible for journalist’s death”

Published on Wednesday 15 June 2011.
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Reporters Without Borders today deplored the death in prison of journalist and writer Hoda Saber and accused the Iranian regime of being responsible

He was taken to hospital with chest pains on 10 June and died of a heart attack a few hours later. The Evin prison authorities did not inform his family, who learned about his death two days later on the Internet.

“We send our deepest condolences to his family and to all Iranian journalists,” said Reporters Without Border secretary-general Jean-François Julliard. “The authorities who arbitrarily arrested him failed to give him proper medical treatment. We support the family’s complaint and demand that the prison deaths of all journalists and political prisoners in Iran be investigated.”

Saber, 52, worked for Iran-e-Farda, and had been in prison since being arrested on 12 August last year. He began a hunger-strike on 2 June this year to protest against the death of his colleague Haleh Sahabi. Prison officials were slow in sending him to hospital on 10 June, contravening article 103 of prison regulations.

Saber was a well-known opposition figure familiar to security and legal officials at Evin prison. It was the fourth time he had been jailed in 10 years. In 2003, he and Reza Alijani, winner of the 2001 Reporters Without Borders - Fondation de France Prize, and Taghi Rahmani were given five-year prison sentences at a secret trial for allegedly “undermining national security and putting out false news to disturb public opinion.” The sentence was reduced a year later to six months.

Yesterday (13 June), 64 political prisoners in Saber’s Evin prison dormitory put out a statement saying that two hours after being taken to the prison clinic before dawn on 10 June, Hoder had been returned to his cell and shouted that he had been beaten instead receiving medical treatment and that he would file a complaint. A few hours later he was sent to Modares hospital where he died.

The statement said that before Saber began his hunger-strike, he had no heart problems.

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