Category Archives: Journalists

Father of Hossein Ronaghi handed 4-month prison sentence in absentia

Hossein Ronaghi Ahmad RonaghiAhmad Ronaghi Maleki, father of political prisoner Hossein Ronaghi has been sentenced to 4 months in prison for sharing information about his son’s illness and his situation in prison.

According to the Kaleme website, Branch 116 of the Tabriz Public (criminal) Court charged Hossein Ronaghi’s father with publishing lies in cyberspace and sentenced him to 4 months in prison based on Article 698 of the Islamic Penal Code and Article 19 of the Islamic Penal Code which was adopted in 2013. The court session for Ahmad Ronaghi was conducted in absentia without his knowledge, or presence of a lawyer on his behalf.

The Tabriz Public Court operating out of its legal jurisdiction, issued the indictment based on claimed evidence provided by the Intelligence Office of East Azerbaijan Province. The Code of Criminal Procedure stipulates that interrogations must be done in the presence of the accused and the resulting documents must be signed. If the accused is illiterate, a trusted witness must sign.

Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, whose son has confronted various illnesses as a direct result of his incarceration, is himself suffering from degenerative eye disease rendering him almost blind in one eye while the other eye has fifty percent vision. He also suffers from heart disease and has undergone surgery several times.

During the past 6 years since the arrest and imprisonment of his son, Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki has been summoned to the Tabriz Court numerous times and subjected to high-pressure interrogations in attempts to have him sign false confessions. Hossein Ronaghi’s family is constantly harassed and threatened by the Tabriz Intelligence Agency for publicizing information about the deteriorating health and situation of their incarcerated son. His brother Hassan Ronaghi has received threats to remain silent and his mother was once served with a warrant for talking about her son. His mother Zoleikha Mousavi who continues to speak out about her son despite the threats, recently shared that authorities told her the family’s efforts on behalf their son’s freedom would be futile.

In an interview with Rooz on July 6, a day after Ahmad Ronaghi was served his prison sentence, Zoleikha Mousavi said that even if her husband is taken away, the family will not remain quiet. Hossein Ronaghi’s mother said in the Rooz interview that authorities are aware that according to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code it is unlawful to return her son to prison. She said Hossein Ronaghi’s sentence should be terminated if the judiciary conforms to what is stipulated in this penal code. She added that because of his situation, Hossein Ronaghi has a pardon from the Supreme Leader. She said the IRGC and Intelligence offices told them they are not opposed to releasing her son, yet it seems Hossein Ronaghi is being held due to a personal agenda.

Zoleikha Mousavi said that they were given 10 days to follow up on the court order for her husband. Hossein Ronaghi’s mother stressed that the family has been subjected to unceasing threats to not conduct interviews during the years but they will not back down. For his birthday, Amnesty International, which has declared Hossein Ronaghi a Prisoner Of Conscience, launched an Urgent Action Campaign demanding that he not be returned to prison. Journalism Is Not A Crime was also among international human rights groups asking that the ailing blogger not be returned to prison.

According to reports by CHRR, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, jailed blogger and human rights activist was violently arrested at his home in the city of Malekan near Tabriz on December 13, 2009 during the mass unrest following the contested presidential elections. At the time he used the penname Babak Khorramdin and worked with Iran Proxy, a group that worked towards combating Internet censorship in Iran. His brother Hassan Ronaghi Maleki was also arrested and held in solitary confinement where he was subjected to severe torture to add duress and demoralize his brother. He was released on bail after one month and suffers permanent damage to his neck and spine from the torture. Hossein Ronaghi was held for 13 months in Evin prison’s Ward 2-A [under control of IRGC] where he endured severe physical torture and psychological pressure in an effort to coerce an interview and false televised confession, which he refused. Eventually Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

While he was in perfect health when he was arrested, Ronaghi’s health has rapidly deteriorated throughout the years as a result of the torture, substandard prison conditions in Evin prison and lack of medical attention behind bars. He has endured 4 kidney operations and countless transfers to the hospital and back to prison during this time. The activist has embarked on several hunger strikes behind bars in protest of his situation along with that of other political prisoners. Despite the recommendation by the Official Forensic Office to release Hossein Ronaghi on medical grounds, he has been ordered back to prison after a short furlough. On July 5, 2015, Hossein Ronaghi’s 30th birthday, agents went to his family home and delivered the prison sentence for Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki – issued by a court session that was conducted without their knowledge.

A new wave of arrests following heavy prison terms for Facebook users and cyber activists

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – In the course of the ongoing pressures and restrictions imposed on the country’s media and Internet outlets, sources have reported arrests of a number of Facebook users and cyber activists in Iran’s Khorasan province.

According to CHRR, on Sunday July 27, 2014, Security agents detained Hamid Hekmati, Esmail Izadi Farid Saremi, Ali Chinisaz, Zahra Kaebi, Farhad Salehi and one other individual in the city of Mashhad. Per reports plainclothes officials approached the cyber activists at the Khak Cultural Center, arrested all 7 of them and transferred them to an undisclosed location. In conjunction with the arrests, Security agents raided the homes of Esmail Izadi and Farid Saremi, conducted a massive search and confiscated their personal computers, documents, files and satellite equipment.

Despite efforts on the part of their families to obtain any information with days gone by since their detainment, the whereabouts and condition of these Facebook and cyber activists remains unknown.

Mr. Hekmati and Chinisaz, bloggers who have been critical of the ruling establishment were previously detained in 2009 during the mass uprisings following the contested presidential election results. Also during that time student activist Esmail Izadi received an official reprimand from the Disciplinary Committee stemming from his activities.

These new arrests come on the heels of other cases during the past months with a number of bloggers and Facebook activists detained and sentenced to very heavy prison terms. On February 16, 2014 Judge Moghiseh presiding over Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced eight people to prison terms combining about 127 years for Internet activities. The unusually harsh verdict stemmed from various charges including “gathering and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the regime,” “insulting the holy,” “blasphemy,” and “insulting heads of government branches.”

Reports indicate that IRGC’s Sarallah Base had monitored and pursued the individuals in the cities of Tehran, Shiraz, Kerman, Yazd and Abadan for months before their arrest in July 2013. Per reports these were isolated individuals who were not political activists but had simply shared their opinions on cyberspace, mostly on Facebook. Using rules from the old Penal Code and applying them to the new Islamic Penal Code, Judge Moghiseh notorious for his harsh sentences handed these individuals much tougher verdicts than usually allowed.

One of the eight, Roya Sabarinejad Nobakht, is a British national of Iranian descent who had travelled to Iran to visit relatives when she was arrested by Security agents and eventually received a 20-year prison sentence. Her heavy verdict stemmed from the charges of “gathering information with the intent to harm national security,” and “blasphemy.” For six years she and her husband who are both dual citizens of Iran and the United Kingdom lived in the city of Stockport located in the outskirts of Manchester U.K. Her husband told the Manchester Evening News that she was detained over comments she had made to friends in Facebook and online chat about Iran’s government being “too Islamic.”

The other 7 who were handed sentences by Judge Moghiseh and their verdicts are as follows:

Amir Golestani – 20 years; Masoud Ghasemkhani – 19 years & 91 days;  Fariborz Kardarfar – 8 years & 91 days;  Amin Akramipour – 13 years;  Seyed Masoud Talebi – 15 years;  Mehdi Reyshahri – 11 years;  Naghmeh Shahisavandi Shirazi – 7 years & 91 days.

On July 28 Reporters Without Borders published a report citing Iran as the world’s leading jailer of female journalists and netizens. In addition an RSF executive said “with 65 journalists and netizens in prison, Iran is still one of the world’s biggest prisons for people working in the media.” Per the freedom of press rankings for 2014, Iran is ranked 173 out of 180 countries.


Iran jaied netizens


Image of a mother suffering in anguish

On a hot summer day in August 2010, the families of political prisoners had gathered in front of the court to get news on the situation of their loved ones.

Nobody thought this suffering mother in anguish who spent months in front of Evin prison and the Prosecutor’s office shedding tears and calling out for her son was Zoleikha Mousavi, the determined and powerful woman from Azerbaijan who never let her son Hossein Ronaghi Maleki be alone.

Today we shouldn’t abandon this mother or any of the mothers.

Zoleikha Mousavi & mothers

Hossein Ronaghi: The house arrest of the Green movement leaders is the imprisonment of national demands

Hossein Ronaghi, jailed dissident blogger held in Evin prison announced his support of the letter written to the president and signed by thousands demanding the release of the Green movement leaders.

As provided to Kaleme, human rights activist seyed Hossein Ronaghi wrote the following statement in support of the letter:

The cruel wall that surrounds Zahra Rahnavard, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi  – because of their defense of the voting rights of the people, of human rights, their protection of the freedom and dignity of the Iranian people, their efforts to ensure progress in the country – is in effect the imprisonment of the ideals and aspirations of the nation. This act of oppression and the resistance to it is not in vein and will not be forgotten.

Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, blogger and human rights activist was detained on December 13, 2009 at his home in Malekan close to the city of Tabriz. He was held for 13 months in solitary confinement in Ward 2-A at Evin prison and subjected to severe physical pressure and psychological duress in a futile effort to extract false televised confessions. Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court eventually handed him a 15-year prison sentence.

Meanwhile three years have gone by since the house arrest of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavard despite the fact that during the eleventh presidential elections that recently took place, the imprisonment situation of the Green movement leaders was emphasized. Presidential campaigning was done on the slogan that resolving this issue would bring reconciliation and national unity.

The letter campaign was organized with a cap of ten thousand signatories demanding the release of the leaders, ending on March 3 commemorating the birthday of Mir Hossein Mousavi.


Hossein Ronaghi Maleki

Letter by Hossein Ronaghi’s father to President Hassan Rouhani


In the name of God the Merciful

The Honorable Dr. Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran


I respectfully inform you that during the past 6 months the interrogating officers of my son Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki have denied him his needed medical care.

This is despite the following:

1-    My son’s blood density has increased and his blood has turned black.

2-    He suffers from gastrointestinal bleeding.

3-    He has renal bleeding, severe kidney disease, burning and frequency of urine.

4-    He is suffering from infectious disease.

It is clear that my son is in a dire and alarming physical situation. The physicians have recommended that he receive immediate medical care and be treated for his maladies. Yet despite this grave situation, he is even barred from his legal right to receive medical furlough. Every time he is taken to the hospital, he is transferred back to prison soon after, causing his sicknesses to regress. He has undergone several surgeries but the operations are rendered useless since he is not allowed recovery time and his ailments revert to their pre-surgery dismal state.

Mr. President,

I ask that you carry out legal justice and implement the constitutional law. I ask that you prioritize your attention to this important matter, because due to the actions of the interrogators, my son’s life is in danger.

Therefore I am making an urgent appeal to you for an immediate follow-up on this case as stipulated by law.

With respect,

Seyed Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki

«به نام خداوند جان و خرد»

ریاست محترم جمهوری اسلامی ایران جناب آقای دکتر حسن روحانی
با عرض سلام
احتراماً به استحضار میرساند بازجویان فرزندم سیدحسین رونقی ملکی در طول شش ماه گذشته حتی اجازۀ درمان او را ندادهاند. این در حالی است که:
1- خون فرزندم در زندان سیاه و غلیظ شده است.
2- خون ریزی دستگاه گوارشی دارد.
3- خون ریزی کلیوی و ناراحتی شدید کلیوی و سوزش ادرار و تکرر ادرار دارد.
4- به بیماری عفونی مبتلا شده است.
که مشخص است چه وضع وخیم و اسفناکی دارد و به این دلایل پزشکان معالج تجویز کردهاند که به فوریت باید تحت معالجه و درمان قرار گیرد. اما با این وضع ناگوار از مرخصی قانونی هم بی بهره است و هر مرحله پس از معالجه باز به زندان برگردانده میشود و باز بیماری وی عود پیدا میکند. وی چند بار هم تحت عمل جراحی قرار گرفته که به همین دلایل باز وضع وی به حالت سابق برگشته و کل درمان بیهوده بوده است. جناب رئیس جمهور اینجانب از جنابعالی اجرای قانون اساسی و عدالت را خواستارم و توجه شما را به این مساله معطوف میدارم که جان فرزندم از طرف بازجویان در خطر است. لذا درخواست رسیدگی فوری طبق قانون را دارم.
با تقدیم احترام. سیداحمد رونقی ملکی-10/09/92

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki

Letter from Hossein Ronaghi to Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, jailed activist and blogger  in Evin prison is in deteriorating health.
His test results indicate that in the past weeks there has been a sharp rise in his blood density. His physicians have indicated that he must have his blood tested as it is reaching dangerous levels. He is also inflicted with fluctuating blood pressure and a high heart rate. His kidney infection, bladder and prostate ailments has worsoned, and he is inflicted with hydronephrosis.

Below is a letter written by Hossein Ronaghi Maleki to Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani as provided to Kaleme


Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe Truth with falsehood, and conceal the Truth, while ye have knowledge? Surah Al-Imran/Ayat 71

Grand Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, Chairman of Expediency Council

Greetings with respect,
You are undoubtedly aware of what the people of Iran have endured during the past few years, and you know better than anybody the obstruction of justice, the law breaking and the extremism that has taken place. Considering the lengthy period of time your Excellency spent as a political prisoner before the Islamic Revolution you are aware of the mistreatment and abuse inflicted on prisoners by the ruling apparatus. If you are willing to be fair, your Excellency and numerous regime officials will consent to the fact that many of the encounters that have taken place with the political prisoners and their families are more inhumane and cruel today than those committed before the revolution.

Grand Ayatollah,
Your Excellency is aware that going on hunger strike which endangers the health and life of a prisoner, is a last resort in seeking fairness and justice. Unfortunately I have lost faith in the ability of many of the officials of the Islamic Republic and the entire judiciary in their capacity to hold fair trials. I had no choice but to embark on a hunger strike when faced with the harsh and improper treatment by the judicial authorities, security officials, and the statement of court officials of the Tehran Prosecutor’s office, who say, “You go on hunger strike and finally you will die. The media will talk about if for two or three weeks, then everything will be over.” I am tired of the lawlessness of the ruling apparatus and I don’t want to be subjected to more insults and humiliation. I don’t want to ignore the shameful and disgraceful conduct towards my family and myself. I did not assault anybody in Kahrizak [prison] or in the streets, nor did I commit a crime in the detention centers. But because of my criticism of the ruling establishment, my condemnation of the lawlessness and corruption, my concern for the future of Iran, my human rights activism, and my opposition to the censorship of opinions, I was handed an unjust sentence of 15 years in prison. Indeed how long must we live under the shadow of the imprudent, incompetent and authoritative rule by a specific group over the lives of the Iranian people?

Grand Ayatollah,
I do not choose to pay any price just to be alive and live under unjust conditions. If I have to choose the toughest possible road to prove my innocence and honesty, then so be it for I am not willing to bow to an unjust and unfair judiciary. I share my agony with you because as Chairman of the Expediency Council I regard you as the only remaining official who might have compassion for the pain and suffering of political prisoners and their families; maybe you are willing to help by taking any positive step within your power. You must be aware that it does not benefit the national interests of the country, the government nor the people to have our youth, our brightest, our most patriotic and freedom loving citizens locked up behind bars; to lose their lives despite being innocent; to be barred from serving their country at any cost. Just as Ayatollah Khamenei formally recognized those who do not believe in the rule of the Islamic Republic and asked them to take part in the elections for the good of their country, the security and judicial apparatus should also acknowledge the right of these same people to exist and be free in their own country. For Iran belongs to all Iranians regardless of their beliefs, views or religion. If the ruling authorities once and for all truly concede the fact that the country and its governance are not the exclusive property of any individual or group, that is when the oppressive interactions will be altered, and instead of committing violations, the judiciary and security apparatus will protect and guard our rights.

I have never feared death
Whose hands are more brittle
Than banality
My dread, however
Is of dying in a land
Where the reward of a gravedigger
Is greater
Than the freedom of a human being
– Ahmad Shamlou

Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki

Evin prison

November 8, 2013

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki

Words from Hasan Ronaghi Maleki to President Rouhani

Hasan Ronaghi Maleki, brother of Hossein Ronaghi Maleki to President Rouhani:


Mr. Rouhani, was it not you who during the presidential elections and before your victory spoke of freedom for political prisoners? Then what happened Mr. Rouhani?

Many say these matters are out of the hands of Mr. Rouhani; he cannot make or implement any decisions.

If it was not in your authority why were you shouting out about it and discussing the matter with such overwhelming confidence?

Freedom has not come to political prisoners including my brother Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, who despite his illness in prison was not even granted medical furlough.

I ask the people who said, “thank you Rouhani” to explain what they are thankful for, so that maybe we may also say “thank you Rouhani.”

اقای روحانی مگر شما نبودید که در زمان انتخابات و قبل از برنده شدن در انتخابات دم از آزادی زندانیان سیاسی میزدید پس چه شد این همه ادعا

خیلی ها می گویند اینها از حوزه کاری جناب روحانی خارج است و نمی تواند تصمیم بگیرد و انجام دهد .

اگر در حوزه کاری و اختیارات شما نبود پس چرا آنگونه قاطع وبا اعتماد می گفتین و فریاد می زدید.

حال برای برادرم حسین و زندانیان سیاسی دیگر آزادی نصیب نشد که هیچ بلکه با وجود بیماری در زندان ماندند و حتی مرخصی هم برایشان داده نشد .

واز کسانی که می گفتند مچکریم روحانی می پرسم برای چه می گفتند به ما هم بگویند شاید ما نیز گفتیم مچکریم روحانی

نقل از فیسبوک حسن رونقی ملکی

Hossein & Hasan Ronaghi Maleki