Iranian journalist receives six-year jail term for interview
Tehran: The Iranian judiciary sentenced journalist and human rights activist, Emadeddin Baqi, to a six-year jail term for conducting an interview with an ayatollah, opposition websites reported on Wednesday.
According to the websites, Baqi was convicted on Tuesday by a revolutionary court in Tehran on charges of spreading propaganda against the establishment and a national security breach.
The websites said the main charge against Baqi stemmed from a video interview with the late dissident cleric, Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, which was broadcast in December on the Farsi programme of the BBC.
Montazeri, who died in December at the age of 87 after a long illness, was a fierce critic of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and had accused his government of dictatorship.
The BBC Farsi programme, which can be watched in Iran through satellite, is accused by the Iranian establishment of being mouthpiece and propaganda tool of global imperialism with a hostile stance towards the Islamic state.
Due to his critical articles as a journalist as well as his activities advocating for political prisoners, women's rights and against torture, the 48-year-old Baqi has either been in jail or in court for much of last 10 years.
Baqi, who has reportedly been detained 67 times since 2000 and spent almost half of the last decade in jail, suffers from serious heart and kidney ailments. He is currently free on bail.
Baqi was awarded last year in Madrid with the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders for his campaigns in Iran.