Human Rights House of Iran – Several plainclothes agents raided the room of political prisoner Isa Saharkhiz in the heart care unit of Shariati Hospital causing the journalist to end up in critical condition.
On Tuesday afternoon several plainclothes officials attacked the room of Isa Saharkhiz in the heart care unit of the hospital. The agents used violence and caused a commotion hurling insults with abusive language towards Saharkhiz and his wife. They created a very tense and uneasy atmosphere for the visitors and also for other patients in the hospital unit.
Human Rights House of Iran reports that this attack caused the decline of the health of both Saharkhiz and his wife.
According to Mehdi Saharkhiz, the son of this journalist, “After Isa Saharkhiz got into an argument with one of his guards, he became extremely stressed and ended up being transferred to the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) of the hospital. Saharkhiz had asked one of the guards to turn off the television and the guard refused to comply, ending up in an abusive confrontation. The ensuing altercation caused Saharkhiz’s blood pressure to shoot up. His face swelled up turning very red, and he had a severe coughing attack that would not subside. The physicians attempted to stabilize him by administering oxygen and medication to no avail so they transferred him to the CCU unit of the hospital. The physicians stated that Saharkhiz must be kept in a stress free environment and if he is exposed to any stress it can result in his death.”
Isa Saharkhiz was arrested on July 3, 2009 in the crackdown after the disputed presidential elections. He had written several articles directly critical of Ayatollah Khamenei. Security forces assaulted Saharkhiz during his arrest, breaking his ribs.
On September 27, 2010, after 15 months of being held behind bars, Judge Salavati presiding over Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court handed down a 3-year prison sentence for this journalist plus a 5-year ban from political and media activities and a one-year ban from travelling abroad. His charges were “insulting the leadership” and “endangering national security.” After his sentence was handed down, Isa Saharkhiz spoke to his family and told them that he would not appeal because in his opinion “all the sentences are handed down per direct orders of Mr. Khamenei and the judiciary has no say here.”
After a new court ruling on August 5, 2011 Isa Saharkhiz was sentenced to an additional 2 years in prison for his prior press activities, increasing his prison term to 5 years. He has served his sentence behind bars in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj before being transferred to the hospital.
Journalist and political activist Isa Saharkhiz was born on January 30, 1954 in the city of Abadan. He studied economics, graduating from Tehran University. In 1983 he worked as a journalist with an expertise in economics for IRNA, the regime’s official news agency. In 1997, he served as the head of the Ministry of Culture and Guidance’s domestic publications in the Khatami cabinet.
Saharkhiz founded a reformist newspaper, Akhbar-e-Eghtesad (economic news), and monthly magazine, Aftab (sun), both of which are now banned. He has also authored various publications.
Human Rights House of Iran