2010 prison census: 145 journalists jailed worldwide

Click on a country name to see summaries of individual cases.


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2000

Afghanistan: 1

Hojatullah Mujadadi, Radio Kapisa FM, Radio Television Afghanistan

Imprisoned: September 18, 2010

Afghan intelligence agents arrested Mujadadi in northeastern Kapisa province as he was covering the provincial governor’s visit to a voting station, news reports said. He was seized about the same time two other Afghan journalists were arrested by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on a vague accusation of Taliban links.

After an international outcry, ISAF issued a statement saying that all three were being released “without conditions,” but the Afghan National Directorate of Security did not free Mujadadi, according to multiple news reports.

Mujadadi had recently taken over as Radio Kapisa’s news director and had aggressively covered events throughout the province, where insurgent activity had been on the increase, according to news reports. No formal charges had been publicly disclosed by late year.

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Azerbaijan: 1

Eynulla Fatullayev, Realny Azerbaijan and Gündalik Azarbaycan

Imprisoned: April 20, 2007

Authorities lodged a series of politically motivated criminal charges against Fatullayev, editor of the now-closed independent Russian-language weekly Realny Azerbaijan and the Azeri-language daily Gündalik Azarbaycan. The charges, which CPJ found to be fabricated, were filed after Fatullayev accused the government of a cover-up in the unsolved murder of his mentor, the editor Elmar Huseynov. In November 2009, CPJ honored Fatullayev with its International Press Freedom Award.

Authorities continued to hold Fatullayev in late year despite a March ruling by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights, which ordered the journalist’s immediate release. The court found Azerbaijani authorities had violated Fatullayev’s rights to freedom of expression and fair trial. Azerbaijan appealed to the court’s Upper Chamber, which upheld the lower court in October. As a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, Azerbaijan is bound to comply with rulings issued by the European Court.

Fatullayev was first charged in March 2007, after he published an in-depth piece that accused Azerbaijani authorities of ignoring evidence in Huseynov’s murder and obstructing the investigation. Fatullayev was charged initially with defaming Azerbaijanis in an Internet comment that the journalist said had been falsely attributed to him; he was sentenced to 30 months in prison in April 2007. Six months later, Fatullayev’s sentence was extended to eight and a half years on several other trumped-up charges, including terrorism, incitement to ethnic hatred, and tax evasion. The terrorism and incitement charges stemmed from a Realny Azerbaijan commentary that sharply criticized President Ilham Aliyev’s foreign policy regarding Iran. Fatullayev denied concealing income as the tax evasion charge alleged.

Just as the European Court’s deliberations on Fatullayev’s case were nearing an end, Azerbaijani authorities filed a new indictment. On December 30, 2009, they charged the editor with drug possession after prison guards claimed to have found heroin in his cell. Fatullayev said guards had planted the drugs while he was taking a shower. In July, a Garadagh District Court judge sentenced Fatullayev to another two and a half years in prison, a punishment not covered by the European Court ruling.

In November, the Azerbaijani Supreme Court ruled that the country would comply with the European Court’s decision, but Fatullayev remained imprisoned in late year based on the drug conviction. The drug charge was widely seen as a means by which authorities could continue to hold Fatullayev regardless of the European Court’s ruling. Based on Fatullayev’s account and authorities’ longstanding persecution of the editor, CPJ concluded that the drug charge was without basis.

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Bahrain: 2

Abduljalil Alsingace, freelance

Imprisoned: August 13, 2010

Alsingace, a journalistic blogger and human rights activist, was arrested as part of a widespread government crackdown on political opponents, human rights defenders, and critical journalists ahead of October parliamentary elections.

The government sought to shield its actions from public scrutiny. On August 27, the public prosecutor issued a gag order barring journalists from reporting on the crackdown. Hundreds of people, mostly from the country’s Shiite majority, were arrested in the crackdown. Most were released, but the government put 23 prominent defendants on trial in October on multiple antistate charges.

Security agents detained Alsingace at Bahrain International Airport as he returned from London, where he had spoken about human rights violations in the kingdom, according to his lawyer, Mohamed Ahmed. Alsingace monitored human rights for the Shiite-dominated opposition Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy. Alsingace also wrote critically of the Bahraini government in articles published on his blog, Al-Faseela. Authorities briefly blocked local access to his blog in 2009.

Alsingace and other detainees said through their lawyers that they had been tortured in custody. In response to local and international concerns, Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin al-Khalifa said his government would investigate the allegations, the Bahrain News Agency reported. No evident investigation had begun by late year.

Ali Abdel Imam, BahrainOnline

Imprisoned: September 5, 2010

Abdel Imam, a leading online journalist and the founder of the BahrainOnline news website, was arrested as part of broad government crackdown on political opponents, human rights defenders, and critical journalists ahead of October parliamentary elections.

The government sought to shield its actions from public scrutiny. On August 27, the public prosecutor issued a gag order barring journalists from reporting on the crackdown. Hundreds of people, mostly from the country’s Shiite majority, were arrested in the crackdown. Most were released, but the government put 23 prominent defendants on trial in October on multiple antistate charges.

BahrainOnline, which featured political news and commentary, had been blocked domestically since 2002 but was still widely read through proxy servers. The government shut its operations completely on the day Abdel Imam was arrested.

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Bangladesh: 1

Mahmudur Rahman, Amar Desh

Imprisoned: June 1, 2010

Police raided the offices of the pro-opposition Bengali-language daily Amar Desh and arrested Rahman, a former opposition energy adviser and majority owner of the paper. Rahman, who was also serving as editor, was charged with unlawfully publishing the paper under an ex-employee’s name, local news reports said.

Dhaka Deputy Commissioner Muhibul Haque revoked Amar Desh’s publishing rights under the nation’s restrictive registration rules, causing the paper to close for about a month before the Supreme Court overturned the order and ruled the paper could reopen, according to an Amar Desh editor, Zahed Chowdhury.

Rahman obtained bail on the publishing charge but continued to be held on a number of other charges, including insult and defamation, that his supporters said were intended to suppress his critical journalism. During a court appearance on June 13, Rahman said police had blindfolded and beat him in custody, according to the local New Age newspaper. “On remand, he was seriously tortured and mistreated,” his lawyer said.

On August 10, the Supreme Court sentenced Rahman to six months in prison and fined him 100,000 taka (US$1,436) on charges of harming the court’s reputation. The charge stemmed from an April 21 Amar Desh article accusing the court of being biased in favor of the state, according to Agence France-Presse. Two colleagues were fined, and one served a month in prison, on the same charge, according to local news reports.

More than 20 defamation charges against Rahman, filed by members or allies of the ruling Awami League, including current energy adviser, Tawfik-e-Elahi Chowdhury, were pending in late year.

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Burma: 13

Ne Min (Win Shwe), freelance

Imprisoned: February 2004

Ne Min, a lawyer and a former stringer for the BBC, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on May 7, 2004, on charges that he illegally passed information to “antigovernment” organizations operating in border areas, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma, a prisoner aid group based in Thailand.

It was the second time that Burma’s military government had imprisoned the well-known journalist, also known as Win Shwe, on charges related to disseminating information to news sources outside Burma. In 1989, a military tribunal sentenced Ne Min to 14 years of hard labor for “spreading false news and rumors to the BBC to fan further disturbances in the country” and “possession of documents including antigovernment literature, which he planned to send to the BBC,” according to official radio reports. He served nine years at Rangoon’s Insein Prison before being released in 1998.

Exiled Burmese journalists who spoke with CPJ said that Ne Min had provided news to political groups and exile-run news publications before his second arrest in February 2004.

Win Maw, Democratic Voice of Burma

Imprisoned: November 27, 2007

Win Maw, an undercover reporter for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), was arrested with two friends by military intelligence agents in a Rangoon tea shop soon after visiting an Internet café. He was serving a 17-year jail sentence on charges related to his news reporting.

Authorities accused him of acting as the “mastermind” of DVB’s in-country news coverage of the 2007 Saffron Revolution, a series of Buddhist monk-led protests against the government that were put down by lethal military force, according to DVB.

Win Maw started reporting for DVB in 2003, one year after he was released from a seven-year prison sentence for composing pro-democracy songs, according to DVB. His video reports often focused on the activities of opposition groups, including the 88 Generation Students Group, according to DVB.

Win Maw was first sentenced in closed court proceedings to seven years in prison in 2008 for violations of the Immigration Act and sending “false” information to a Burmese exile-run media group. In 2009, he was sentenced to an additional 10 years for violations of the Electronic Act.

He was being held at the remote Thandwe Prison in northwestern Arakan state, nearly 600 miles from his Rangoon-based family. His family members alleged that police had tortured Win Maw during interrogations and denied him adequate medical attention.

Win Maw received the 2010 Kenji Nagai Memorial Award, an honor bestowed to Burmese journalists in memory of the Japanese photojournalist shot and killed by Burmese troops while covering the 2007 Saffron Revolution.

Nay Phone Latt (Nay Myo Kyaw), freelance

Imprisoned: January 29, 2008

Nay Phone Latt, also known as Nay Myo Kyaw, wrote a blog and owned three Internet cafés in Rangoon. He was arrested the morning of January 29, 2008, under the 1950 Emergency Provision Act on national security-related charges, according to news reports. His blog provided breaking news reports on the military’s crackdown on the 2007 Saffron Revolution, which were cited by several foreign news outlets, including the BBC. He also served as a youth member of the opposition National League for Democracy party, according to Reuters.

A court charged Nay Phone Latt in July 2008 with causing public offense and violating video and electronic laws when he posted caricatures of ruling generals on his blog, according to Reuters.

During closed judicial proceedings at Insein Prison on November 10, 2008, Nay Phone Latt was sentenced to 20 years and six months in prison, according to the Burma Media Association, a press freedom advocacy group, and news reports. The Rangoon Divisional Court later reduced the prison sentence to 12 years. Nay Phone Latt was transferred from Insein to Pa-an Prison in Karen state in late 2008, news reports said.

In 2010, he was honored with the prestigious PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award for his creative and courageous blog postings.

Sein Win Maung, Myanmar Nation

Imprisoned: February 15, 2008

A police raid on the offices of the weekly Myanmar Nation led to the arrest of editor Thet Zin and manager Sein Win Maung, according to local and international news reports. Police also seized the journalists’ cell phones, footage of monk-led antigovernment demonstrations that took place in Burma in September 2007, and a report by Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Burma, according to Aung Din, director of the Washington-based U.S. Campaign for Burma. The rapporteur’s report detailed killings associated with the military government’s crackdown on the 2007 demonstrators.

The New Delhi-based Mizzima news agency cited family members as saying that the two were first detained in the Thingangyun Township police station before being charged with illegal printing and publishing on February 25. On November 28, 2008, a closed court at the Insein Prison compound sentenced each to seven years in prison under the Printers and Publishers Registration Law, which requires that all publications be checked by a state censor before publication.

Police ordered Myanmar Nation’s staff to stop publishing temporarily, according to the Burma Media Association, a press freedom advocacy group with representatives in Bangkok. The exile-run news website Irrawaddy said the newspaper was allowed to resume publishing in March 2008; by October of that year, exile-run groups said, the journal had shut down for lack of leadership.

Thet Zin was among 7,000 prisoners released as part of a government amnesty on September 17, 2009, according to international news reports. Sein Win Maung remained behind bars in Kengtung Prison in Shan State, approximately 400 miles from his family in Rangoon.

Maung Thura (Zarganar), freelance

Imprisoned: June 4, 2008

Police arrested Maung Thura, a well-known blogger and comedian who used the professional name Zarganar, or “Tweezers,” at his home in Rangoon, according to news reports. The police also seized electronic equipment at the time of the arrest, according to Agence France-Presse.

Maung Thura had mobilized hundreds of entertainers to help survivors of Cyclone Nargis, which devastated Rangoon and much of the Irrawaddy Delta in May 2008. His footage of relief work in hard-hit areas was circulated on DVD and on the Internet. Photographs and DVD footage of the disaster’s aftermath were among the items police confiscated at the time of his arrest, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma and the U.S. Campaign for Burma.

In the week he was detained, Maung Thura gave several interviews to overseas-based news outlets, including the BBC, criticizing the military junta’s response to the disaster. The day after his arrest, state-controlled media published warnings against sending video footage of relief work to foreign news agencies.

During closed proceedings in August 2008 at Insein Prison in Rangoon, the comedian was indicted on at least seven charges, according to international news reports.

On November 21, 2008, the court sentenced Maung Thura to 45 years in prison on three separate counts of violating the Electronics Act. Six days later, the court added 14 years to his term after convicting him on charges of communicating with exiled dissidents and causing public alarm in interviews with foreign media, his defense lawyer, Khin Htay Kywe, told The Associated Press. The Rangoon Divisional Court later reduced the sentences to a total of 35 years.

The Electronics Act allows for harsh prison sentences for using electronic media, including the Internet, to send information outside the country without government approval.

Maung Thura had been detained on several occasions in the past, including a September 2007 episode in which he was accused of helping Buddhist monks during the Saffron Revolution protests, according to the exile-run press freedom group Burma Media Association. He had maintained a blog, Zarganar-windoor, detailing his work.

The Oslo-based Democratic Voice of Burma reported that Maung Thura was transferred in December 2008 to remote Myintkyinar Prison in Kachin state, where he was reported to be in poor health. His sister-in-law, Ma Nyein, told the exile news website Irrawaddy that the journalist suffered from hypertension and jaundice.

Zaw Thet Htwe, freelance

Imprisoned: June 13, 2008

Police arrested Rangoon-based freelance journalist Zaw Thet Htwe on June 13, 2008, in the town of Minbu, where he was visiting his mother, Agence France-Presse reported. The sportswriter had been working with comedian-blogger Maung Thura in delivering aid to victims of Cyclone Nargis and videotaping the relief effort.

The journalist, who formerly edited the popular sports newspaper First Eleven, was indicted in a closed tribunal on August 7, 2008, and was tried along with Maung Thura and two activists, AFP reported. The group faced multiple charges, including violating the Video Act and Electronic Act and disrupting public order and unlawful association, news reports said.

The Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma said police confiscated a computer and cell phone during a raid on Zaw Thet Htwe’s Rangoon home.

In November 2008, Zaw Thet Htwe was sentenced to a total of 19 years in prison on charges of violating the Electronics Act, according to the Mizzima news agency. The Rangoon Divisional Court later reduced the term to 11 years, Mizzima reported. He was serving his sentence in Taunggyi Prison in Shan state.

The Electronics Act allows for harsh prison sentences for using electronic media to send information outside the country without government approval.

Zaw Thet Htwe had been arrested before, in 2003, and given the death sentence for plotting to overthrow the government, news reports said. The sentence was later commuted. AFP reported that the 2003 arrest was related to a story he published about a misappropriated sports grant.

Aung Kyaw San, Myanmar Tribune

Imprisoned: June 15, 2008

Aung Kyaw San, editor-in-chief of the Myanmar Tribune, was arrested in Rangoon along with 15 others returning from relief activities in the Irrawaddy Delta region, which was devastated by Cyclone Nargis, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma and the Mizzima news agency.

Photographs that Aung Kyaw San had taken of cyclone victims appeared on some websites, according to the Burma Media Association, a press freedom group run by exiled journalists. Authorities closed the Burmese-language weekly after his arrest and did not allow his family visitation rights, according to the assistance association. On April 10, 2009, an Insein Prison court sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment for unlawful association, Mizzima reported.

Aung Kyaw San was formerly jailed in 1990 and held for more than three years for activities with the country’s pro-democracy movement, the association said. He was serving his sentence at the Taunggyi prison in Shan State, according to the association.

Ngwe Soe Lin (Tun Kyaw), Democratic Voice of Burma

Imprisoned: June 26, 2009

Ngwe Soe Lin, an undercover video journalist with the Oslo-based media organization Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), was arrested after leaving an Internet café in the old capital city of Rangoon, according to DVB. Before his conviction, DVB had publicly referred to him only as “T.”

He was one of two cameramen who took video footage of children orphaned by the 2008 Cyclone Nargis disaster for a documentary titled “Orphans of the Burmese Cyclone.” The film was recognized with a Rory Peck Award for best documentary in November 2009. DVB said that another video journalist, identified only as “Zoro,” went into hiding after Ngwe Soe Lin’s arrest.

On January 27, a special military court attached to Rangoon’s Insein Prison sentenced Ngwe Soe Lin, also known as Tun Kyaw, to 13 years in prison on charges related to the vague and draconian Electronics and Immigration acts, according to a DVB statement.

The Electronics Act allows for harsh prison sentences for using electronic media to send information outside the country without government approval.

Hla Hla Win, Democratic Voice of Burma
Myint Naing, freelance

Imprisoned: September 11, 2009

Hla Hla Win, an undercover reporter with the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), was arrested on her way back from a reporting assignment in Pakokku Township, Magwe Division, where she had conducted interviews with Buddhist monks in a local monastery. Her assistant, Myint Naing, was also arrested, according to the independent Asian Human Rights Commission.

Hla Hla Win was working on a story pegged to the second anniversary of the 2007 Saffron Revolution, Buddhist monk-led protests against the government that were put down by lethal military force, according to her DVB editors.

In October 2009, a Pakokku Township court sentenced Hla Hla Win and Myint Naing to seven years in prison for using an illegally imported motorcycle.

After interrogations in prison, Hla Hla Win was charged with violating the Electronics Act and sentenced to an additional 20 years on December 30, 2009. Myint Naing was sentenced to an additional 25 years under the act, the Asian Human Rights Commission said. The Electronics Act allows for harsh prison sentences for using electronic media to send information outside the country without government approval.

Hla Hla Win first joined DVB as an undercover reporter in December 2008. According to her editors, she played an active role in covering issues considered sensitive to the government, including local reaction to the controversial trial in 2009 of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

In 2010, Hla Hla Win received the Kenji Nagai Memorial Award, an honor bestowed to Burmese journalists in memory of the Japanese photojournalist shot and killed by Burmese troops while covering the 2007 Saffron Revolution.

Nyi Nyi Tun, Kandarawaddy

Imprisoned: October 14, 2009

A court attached to Rangoon’s Insein Prison sentenced Nyi Nyi Tun, editor of the news journal Kandarawaddy, to 13 years in prison on October 13, 2010, a year after his initial detention.

The court found Nyi Nyi Tun guilty of several antistate crimes, including violations of the Unlawful Associations, Immigration, and Wireless acts, according to Mizzima, a Burmese exile-run news agency.

Nyi Nyi Tun was first detained on terrorism charges on October 14, 2009, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma, a Thailand-based advocacy organization. Authorities originally tried to connect him to a series of bomb blasts in Rangoon but apparently dropped the allegations.

Nyi Nyi Tun told his family members that he had been tortured during his interrogation, Mizzima reported. After his arrest in 2009, Burmese authorities shut down Kandarawaddy, a local-language journal that operated out of the Kayah special region near the country’s eastern border, according to the Burma Media Association, a press freedom advocacy group.

Sithu Zeya, Democratic Voice of Burma

Imprisoned: April 15, 2010

Sithu Zeya, a video journalist with the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), was arrested while covering a grenade attack that left nine dead and hundreds injured during the annual Buddhist New Year water festival in Rangoon.

DVB editors said Sithu Zeya, 21, was near the crowded area where the blast occurred and started filming the aftermath as government authorities arrived on the scene. He was arrested immediately by police officials, who also seized his laptop computer and other personal belongings, DVB reported.

A police official, Khin Yi, said at a May 6 press conference that Sithu Zeya had been arrested for taking video footage of the attack. His mother, Yee Yee Tint, told DVB after a prison visit in May that he had been denied food and beaten during police interrogations that left a constant ringing in his ear.

DVB Deputy Editor Khin Maung Win told CPJ that Sithu Zeya had been forced to reveal under torture that his father, Maung Maung Zeya, also served as an undercover DVB reporter. They were both detained at Rangoon’s Insein Prison.

As of December 1, Sithu Zeya awaited a court verdict on charges related to the Unlawful Association, Immigration, and Electronic acts.

Maung Maung Zeya, Democratic Voice of Burma

Imprisoned: April 17, 2010

Maung Maung Zeya, an undercover reporter with the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), was arrested at his Rangoon house two days after his son and fellow DVB journalist, Sithu Zeya, was arrested for filming the aftermath of a fatal bomb attack during a Buddhist New Year celebration, according to DVB.

Maung Maung Zeya was first detained and interrogated at the Bahan Township police station in Rangoon and transferred June 14 to Rangoon’s Insein Prison. DVB editors said he was a “senior member” of their undercover team inside Burma and was responsible for operation management, including making reporting assignments to other DVB journalists.

Hearings in his trial on charges related to the Unlawful Association, Immigration, and Electronic acts began on June 22 at Western Rangoon’s Provincial Court. DVB Deputy Editor Khin Maung Win told CPJ that authorities had offered to free Maung Maung Zeya if he divulged the names of other undercover DVB reporters. Charges were pending as of December 1.

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Burundi: 1

Jean-Claude Kavumbagu, Net Press

Imprisoned: July 17, 2010

Police arrested Kavumbagu, editor of the online news outlet Net Press, on treason charges stemming from commentary critical of the country’s security forces. The July 12 piece came a day after deadly twin bomb attacks in neighboring Uganda.

The hard-line Somali insurgency Al-Shabaab, which claimed responsibility for the Ugandan bombings, threatened more attacks if Uganda and Burundi did not withdraw military forces deployed in Somalia in support of the federal government there, according to news reports. Kavumbagu’s opinion piece questioned the ability of the Burundian security forces to prevent bomb attacks similar to those that struck Uganda.

Defense lawyer Gabriel Sinarinzi told CPJ that Kavumbagu was being held in pretrial detention at Mpimba Prison in Bugumbura. The charge could bring life imprisonment.

Kavumbagu had been imprisoned in 2008 on defamation charges related to an article critical of the amount of money spent on a presidential trip to the Beijing Olympics. That charge was eventually dismissed, Sinarinzi said.

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China: 34

Xu Zerong (David Tsui), freelance

Imprisoned: June 24, 2000

Xu was serving a prison term on charges of “leaking state secrets” through his academic work on military history and “economic crimes” related to unauthorized publishing of foreign policy issues. Some observers believed that his jailing might have been related to an article he wrote for the Hong Kong-based Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly) magazine revealing clandestine Chinese Communist Party support for a Malaysian insurgency in the 1950s and 1960s.

Xu, a permanent resident of Hong Kong, was arrested in Guangzhou and held incommunicado for 18 months until trial. In December 2001, the Shenzhen Intermediate Court sentenced him to 13 years in prison; Xu’s appeal to Guangzhou Higher People’s Court was rejected in 2002.

According to court documents, the “state secrets” charges against Xu stemmed from his use of historical documents for academic research. Xu, also known as David Tsui, was an associate research professor at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou. In 1992, he photocopied four books published in the 1950s about China’s role in the Korean War, which he then sent to a colleague in South Korea.

The verdict stated that the Security Committee of the People’s Liberation Army of Guangzhou determined that the books had not been declassified 40 years after being labeled “top secret.” After his arrest, St. Antony’s College at Oxford University, where Xu earned his doctorate and wrote his dissertation on the Korean War, was active in researching the case and calling for his release.

Xu was also the co-founder of a Hong Kong-based academic journal, Zhongguo Shehui Kexue Jikan (China Social Sciences Quarterly). The “economic crimes” charges were related to the “illegal publication” of more than 60,000 copies of 25 books and periodicals, including several books about Chinese politics and Beijing’s relations with Taiwan.

He was arrested just days before an article appeared in the June 26, 2000, issue of Yazhou Zhoukan, in which he accused the Communist Party of hypocrisy when it condemned countries that criticized China’s human rights record.

Xu began his sentence in Dongguan Prison, outside Guangzhou, but he was later transferred to Guangzhou Prison, where it was easier for his family to visit him. He was spared from hard labor and was allowed to read, research, and teach English in prison, according to the U.S.-based prisoner advocacy group Dui Hua Foundation. He suffered from high blood pressure and diabetes.

Dui Hua said Xu’s family members had been informed of sentence reductions that would move his scheduled release date to 2011. In 2009, the Independent Chinese PEN Center honored him with a Writers in Prison Award.

Jin Haike, freelance
Xu Wei, freelance

Imprisoned: March 13, 2001

Jin and Xu were among four members of an informal discussion group called Xin Qingnian Xuehui (New Youth Study Group) who were detained and accused of “subverting state authority.” Prosecutors cited online articles and essays on political and social reform as proof of their intent to overthrow the Communist Party leadership.

The two men, along with their colleagues, Yang Zili and Zhang Honghai, were charged with subversion on April 20, 2001. More than two years later, on May 29, 2003, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Jin and Xu each to 10 years in prison, while Yang and Zhang each received sentences of eight years. All of the sentences were to be followed by two years’ deprivation of political rights.

The four young men were students and recent university graduates who gathered occasionally to discuss politics and reform with four others, including an informant for the Ministry of State Security. The most prominent in the group, Yang, posted his own thoughts, as well as reports by the others, on topics such as rural poverty and village elections, along with essays advocating democratic reform, on the popular website Yangzi de Sixiang Jiayuan (Yangzi’s Garden of Ideas). Xu was a reporter at Xiaofei Ribao (Consumer’s Daily). Public security agents pressured the newspaper to fire him before his arrest, a friend, Wang Ying, reported online.

The court cited a handful of articles, including Jin’s “Be a New Citizen, Reform China” and Yang’s “Choose Liberalism,” in the 2003 verdict against them. The Beijing High People’s Court rejected their appeal without hearing defense witnesses. Three of the witnesses who testified against the four men were fellow members of the group who later tried to retract their testimony.

Yang and Zhang were released on the expiration of their sentences on March 13, 2009, according to international news reports. Xu and Jin remained imprisoned at Beijing’s No. 2 Prison. Jin’s father told CPJ in October that his son’s health had improved. He had suffered from abdominal pain, for which he had undergone surgery in 2007. Xu was suffering from psychological stress while in prison, according to the Independent Chinese PEN Center.

Abdulghani Memetemin, freelance

Imprisoned: July 26, 2002

Memetemin, a writer, teacher, and translator who had actively advocated for the Uighur ethnic group in the northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, was detained in Kashgar, Xinjiang province, on charges of “leaking state secrets.”

In June 2003, the Kashgar Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Memetemin to nine years in prison, plus a three-year suspension of political rights. Radio Free Asia provided CPJ with court documents listing 18 specific counts against him, which included translating state news articles into Chinese from Uighur; forwarding official speeches to the Germany-based East Turkistan Information Center (ETIC)—a news outlet that advocated for an independent state for the Uighur ethnic group—and conducting original reporting for ETIC. The court also accused him of recruiting reporters for ETIC, which was banned in China.

Memetemin did not have legal representation at his trial.

Huang Jinqiu (Qing Shuijun, Huang Jin), freelance

Imprisoned: September 13, 2003

Huang, a columnist for the U.S.-based website Boxun News, was arrested in Jiangsu province, and his family was not notified of his arrest for more than three months. On September 27, 2004, the Changzhou Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to 12 years in prison on charges of “subversion of state authority,” plus four years’ deprivation of political rights. The sentence was unusually harsh and appeared linked to his intention to form an opposition party.

Huang worked as a writer and editor in his native Shandong province, as well as in Guangdong province, before leaving China in 2000 to study journalism at the Central Academy of Art in Malaysia. While he was overseas, he began writing political commentary for Boxun News under the penname Qing Shuijun. He also wrote articles on arts and entertainment under the name Huang Jin. Huang’s writings reportedly caught the attention of the government in 2001. He told a friend that authorities had contacted his family to warn them about his writings, according to Boxun News.

In January 2003, Huang wrote in his online column that he intended to form a new opposition party, the China Patriot Democracy Party. When he returned to China in August 2003, he eluded public security agents just long enough to visit his family in Shandong province. In the last article he posted on Boxun News, titled “Me and My Public Security Friends,” he described being followed and harassed by security agents.

Huang’s appeal was rejected in December 2004. He was given a 22-month sentence reduction in July 2007, according to the U.S.-based prisoner advocacy group Dui Hua Foundation. The journalist, who suffered from arthritis, was serving his sentence in Pukou Prison in Jiangsu province.

Kong Youping, freelance

Imprisoned: December 13, 2003

Kong, an essayist and poet, was arrested in Anshan, Liaoning province. A former trade union official, he had written articles online that supported democratic reforms, appealed for the release of then-imprisoned Internet writer Liu Di, and called for a reversal of the government’s “counterrevolutionary” ruling on the pro-democracy demonstrations of 1989.

Kong’s essays included an appeal to democracy activists in China that stated, “In order to work well for democracy, we need a well-organized, strong, powerful, and effective organization. Otherwise, a mainland democracy movement will accomplish nothing.” Several of his articles and poems were posted on the Minzhu Luntan (Democracy Forum) website.

In 1998, Kong served time in prison after he became a member of the Liaoning province branch of the China Democracy Party (CDP), an opposition party. In 2004, he was tried on subversion charges along with co-defendant Ning Xianhua, who was accused of being vice chairman of the CDP branch in Liaoning, according to the U.S.-based advocacy organization Human Rights in China and court documents obtained by the U.S.-based Dui Hua Foundation. On September 16, 2004, the Shenyang Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Kong to 15 years in prison, plus four years’ deprivation of political rights. Ning received a 12-year sentence.

Kong suffered from hypertension and was imprisoned in the city of Lingyuan, far from his family. He received a sentence reduction to 10 years after an appeal, according to the Independent Chinese PEN Center. The group reported that his eyesight was deteriorating.

Shi Tao, freelance

Imprisoned: November 24, 2004

Shi, the former editorial director of the Changsha-based newspaper Dangdai Shang Bao (Contemporary Trade News), was detained near his home in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, in November 2004.

He was formally charged with “providing state secrets to foreigners” by sending an e-mail on his Yahoo account to the U.S.-based editor of the website Minzhu Luntan (Democracy Forum). In an anonymous e-mail sent several months before his arrest, Shi transcribed his notes from local propaganda department instructions to his newspaper, which included directives on coverage of the Falun Gong and the upcoming 15th anniversary of the military crackdown on demonstrators at Tiananmen Square.

The National Administration for the Protection of State Secrets retroactively certified the contents of the e-mail as classified, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

On April 27, 2005, the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court found Shi guilty and sentenced him to a 10-year prison term. In June of that year, the Hunan Province High People’s Court rejected his appeal without granting a hearing.

Court documents in the case revealed that Yahoo had supplied information to Chinese authorities that helped them identify Shi as the sender of the e-mail. Yahoo’s participation in the identification of Shi and other jailed dissidents raised questions about the role that international Internet companies play in the repression of online speech in China and elsewhere.

In November 2005, CPJ honored Shi with its annual International Press Freedom Award for his courage in defending the ideals of free expression. In November 2007, members of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs rebuked Yahoo executives for their role in the case and for wrongly testifying in earlier hearings that the company did not know the Chinese government’s intentions when it sought Shi’s account information.

Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft later joined with human rights organizations, academics, and investors to form the Global Network Initiative, which adopted a set of principles to protect online privacy and free expression in October 2008.

Human Rights Watch awarded Shi a Hellman/Hammett grant for persecuted writers in October 2009.

Zheng Yichun, freelance

Imprisoned: December 3, 2004

Zheng, a former professor, was a regular contributor to overseas news websites, including the U.S.-based Epoch Times, which is affiliated with the banned religious movement Falun Gong. He wrote a series of editorials that directly criticized the Communist Party and its control of the media.

Because of police warnings, Zheng’s family remained silent about his detention in Yingkou, Liaoning province, until state media reported that he had been arrested on suspicion of inciting subversion. Zheng was initially tried by the Yingkou Intermediate People’s Court on April 26, 2005. No verdict was announced and, on July 21, he was tried again on the same charges. As in the April 26 trial, proceedings lasted just three hours. Though officially “open” to the public, the courtroom was closed to all observers except close family members and government officials. Zheng’s supporters and a journalist were prevented from entering, according to a local source.

Prosecutors cited dozens of articles written by the journalist, and listed the titles of several essays in which he called for political reform, increased capitalism in China, and an end to the practice of imprisoning writers. On September 20, the court sentenced Zheng to seven years in prison, to be followed by three years’ deprivation of political rights.

Sources familiar with the case believe that Zheng’s harsh sentence may be linked to Chinese leaders’ objections to the Epoch Times series “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party,” which called the Chinese Communist Party an “evil cult” with a “history of killings” and predicted its demise.

Zheng is diabetic, and his health declined after his imprisonment. After his first appeal was rejected, he intended to pursue an appeal in a higher court, but his defense lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, was himself imprisoned in August 2006. Zheng’s family was unable to find another lawyer willing to take the case.

In summer 2008, prison authorities at Jinzhou Prison in Liaoning informed Zheng’s family that he had suffered a brain hemorrhage and received urgent treatment in prison. However, no lawyer would agree to represent Zheng in an appeal for medical parole, according to Zheng Xiaochun, the journalist’s brother, who spoke with CPJ by telephone.

Yang Tongyan (Yang Tianshui), freelance

Imprisoned: December 23, 2005

Yang, commonly known by his penname Yang Tianshui, was detained along with a friend in Nanjing, eastern China. He was tried on charges of “subverting state authority,” and on May 17, 2006, the Zhenjiang Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to 12 years in prison.

Yang was a well-known writer and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center. He was a frequent contributor to U.S.-based websites banned in China, including Boxun News and Epoch Times. He often wrote critically about the ruling Communist Party, and he advocated for the release of jailed Internet writers.

According to the verdict in Yang’s case, which was translated into English by the U.S.-based Dui Hua Foundation, the harsh sentence against him was related to a fictitious online election, established by overseas Chinese citizens, for a “democratic Chinese transitional government.” His colleagues say that without his prior knowledge, he was elected to the leadership of the fictional government. He later wrote an article in Epoch Times in support of the model.

Prosecutors also accused Yang of transferring money from overseas to Wang Wenjiang, who had been convicted of endangering state security. Yang’s defense lawyer argued that this money was humanitarian assistance to the family of a jailed dissident and should not have constituted a criminal act.

Believing that the proceedings were fundamentally unjust, Yang did not appeal. He had already spent 10 years in prison for his opposition to the military crackdown on demonstrators at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

In June 2008, Shandong provincial authorities refused to renew the law license of Yang’s lawyer, press freedom advocate Li Jianqiang, who also represented imprisoned journalist Zhang Jianhong. In 2008, the PEN American Center announced that Yang was a recipient of the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.

Zhang Jianhong, freelance

Imprisoned: September 6, 2006

The founder and editor of the popular news and literary website Aiqinhai (Aegean Sea) was taken from his home in Ningbo, in eastern China’s Zhejiang province. In October 2006, Zhang was formally arrested on charges of “inciting subversion.” He was sentenced to six years in prison by the Ningbo Intermediate People’s Court in March 2007, followed by one year’s deprivation of political rights.

Authorities did not clarify their allegations against Zhang, but supporters believed they were linked to online articles critical of government actions. An editorial he wrote two days before his detention called attention to international organizations’ criticism of the government’s human rights record and, in particular, to the poor treatment of journalists and their sources two years before the start of the Olympics. Zhang referred to the situation as “Olympicgate.”

Zhang was an author, screenwriter, and reporter who served a year and a half of “re-education through labor” in 1989-90 on counterrevolutionary charges for his writing in support of protesters. He was dismissed from a position in the local writers association and began working as a freelance writer.

His website, Aiqinhai, was closed in March 2006 for unauthorized posting of international and domestic news. He had also been a contributor to several U.S.-based Chinese-language websites, including Boxun News, the pro-democracy forum Minzhu Luntan, and Epoch Times.

In September 2007, Shandong provincial authorities refused to renew the law license of Zhang’s lawyer, press freedom advocate Li Jianqiang, who represented other imprisoned journalists as well.

Zhang’s health deteriorated significantly in jail, according to his wife, Dong Min, who spoke with CPJ by telephone in October 2008. He suffered from a debilitating disease affecting the nervous system and was unable to perform basic tasks without help. Appeals for parole on medical grounds were not granted and, by 2009, he was no longer able to write, according to the Independent Chinese PEN Center. His scheduled release date is September 2012.

Yang Maodong (Guo Feixiong), freelance

Imprisoned: September 14, 2006

Yang, commonly known by his penname Guo Feixiong, was a prolific writer, activist, and legal analyst for the Beijing-based Shengzhe law firm. Police detained him in September 2006 after he reported and gave advice on a number of sensitive political cases facing the local government in his home province of Guangdong.

Yang was detained for three months in 2005 for “sending news overseas” and disturbing public order after he reported on attempts by villagers in Taishi, Guangdong, to oust a village chief. He was eventually released without prosecution, but remained vocal on behalf of rights defenders, giving repeated interviews to foreign journalists. A police beating he sustained in February 2006 prompted a well-known human rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, to stage a high-profile hunger strike. Police in Beijing detained Yang for two days that February after he protested several government actions, including the closing of the popular Yunnan bulletin board, where he had posted information about the Taishi village case.

Yang’s September 2006 arrest was for “illegal business activity,” international news reports said. After a 15-month pretrial detention, a court convicted him of illegally publishing a magazine in 2001, according to U.S.-based advocacy groups. One of a series of magazines he had published since the 1990s, Political Earthquake in Shenyang, exposed one of the largest official graft cases in China’s history in Shenyang, Liaoning province, according to the Dui Hua Foundation. CPJ’s 2001 International Press Freedom Awardee, Jiang Weiping, spent five years in prison for reporting on the same case for a magazine in Hong Kong.

Although police had interrogated his assistant and confiscated funds in 2001 concerning the unauthorized publication charge, the case attracted no further punitive measures until Yang became involved in activism.

Yang’s defense team from the Mo Shaoping law firm in Beijing argued that a five-year limit for prosecuting illegal publishing had expired by the time of his trial, according to the Dui Hua Foundation, which published the defense statement in 2008. But Yang was still sentenced to five years in prison.

Yang has gone on hunger strike several times to protest ill treatment by authorities in Meizhou Prison in Guangdong. He was brutally force-fed on at least one of these occasions and remained in poor health, according to the advocacy group Human Rights in China (HRIC). The group said his treatment in the detention center before his trial was so aggressive that he attempted suicide. Police subjected him to around-the-clock interrogations for 13 days, HRIC said, and administered electric shocks. The group also said that Yang’s family had been persecuted since his imprisonment: His wife was laid off and his two children were held back in school in retribution for his work.

Sun Lin, freelance

Imprisoned: May 30, 2007

Nanjing-based reporter Sun was arrested along with his wife, He Fang, on May 30, 2007, according to the U.S.-based website Boxun News. Sun had previously documented harassment by authorities in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, as a result of his audio, video, and print reports for the banned Chinese-language news site. Boxun News said authorities confiscated a computer and video equipment from the couple at the time of their arrest.

In the arrest warrant, Sun was accused of possessing an illegal weapon, and a police statement issued on June 1, 2007, said he was the leader of a criminal gang. Lawyers met with Sun and He that June, but the couple was later denied visits from legal counsel and family members, according to a Boxun News report. A trial was postponed twice for lack of evidence.

A four-year prison sentence for possessing illegal weapons and assembling a disorderly crowd was delivered on June 30, 2008, in a hearing closed to Sun’s lawyers and family, according to The Associated Press.

Witness testimony about Sun’s possession of weapons was contradictory, according to news reports. The disorderly crowd charge was based on an incident in 2004, three years before his arrest. Police accused him of disturbing the peace while aiding people evicted from their homes, but the journalist said he had broken no laws.

Sun’s wife, He, was given a suspended sentence of 15 months in prison on similar charges, according to Sun’s defense lawyer, Mo Shaoping. She was allowed to return home after the hearing. The couple has a 12-year-old daughter.

Prison authorities transferred Sun to Jiangsu province’s Pukou Prison in September 2008, according to a report published by Boxun News. The report said Nanjing authorities refused to return the confiscated equipment. Because seeking a sentence reduction would involve admitting guilt, Sun has resolved to serve the time in full, according to the report.

Qi Chonghuai, freelance

Imprisoned: June 25, 2007

Qi and a colleague, Ma Shiping, criticized a local official in Shandong province in an article published June 8, 2007, on the website of the U.S.-based Epoch Times, according to Qi’s lawyer, Li Xiongbing. On June 14, the two posted photographs on Xinhua news agency’s anticorruption Web forum showing a luxurious government building in the city of Tengzhou.

Police in Tengzhou detained Ma on June 16 on charges of carrying a false press card. Qi, a journalist of 13 years, was arrested in his home in Jinan, the provincial capital, more than a week later, and charged with fraud and extortion, Li said. Qi was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison on May 13, 2008.

Qi was accused of taking money from local officials while reporting several stories, a charge he denied. The people from whom he was accused of extorting money were local officials threatened by his reporting, Li said. Qi told his lawyer and his wife, Jiao Xia, that police beat him during questioning on August 13, 2007, and again during a break in his trial. Qi was being held in Tengzhou Prison, a four-hour trip from his family’s home, which limited visits.

Ma, a freelance photographer, was sentenced in late 2007 to one and a half years in prison. He was released in 2009, according to Jiao Xia.

Lü Gengsong, freelance

Imprisoned: August 24, 2007

The Public Security Bureau in Hangzhou, capital of eastern Zhejiang province, charged Lü with “inciting subversion of state power,” according to human rights groups and news reports. Officials also searched his home and confiscated his computer hard drive and files soon after his detention in August 2007. Police did not notify his wife, Wang Xue’e, of the arrest for more than a month.

The detention was connected to Lü’s articles on corruption, land expropriation, organized crime, and human rights abuses, which were published on overseas websites. Police told his wife that his writings had “attacked the Communist Party,” she told CPJ. The day before his arrest, he reported on the trial and two-year sentence of housing rights activist Yang Yunbiao. Lü, a member of the banned China Democracy Party, was also author of a 2000 book, Corruption in the Communist Party of China, which was published in Hong Kong.

The Intermediate People’s Court in Hangzhou convicted Lü of subversion after a closed-door, one-day trial on January 22, 2008. The court handed down a four-year jail term the next month. The journalist’s wife, Wang Xue’e, told CPJ in October 2010 that she was able to visit Lü at Xijiao Prison in Hangzhou about once a month.

Hu Jia, freelance

Imprisoned: December 27, 2007

Police charged Hu, a prominent human rights activist and essayist, with “incitement to subvert state power” based on six online commentaries and two interviews with foreign media in which he criticized the Communist Party. On April 3, 2008, he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Hu had advocated for AIDS patients, defended the rights of farmers, and promoted environmental protection. His writings, which appeared on his blog, criticized the Communist Party’s human rights record, called for democratic reform, and condemned government corruption. They included an open letter to the international community about China’s failure to fulfill pledges to improve human rights before the 2008 Olympics. He frequently provided information to other activists and foreign media to highlight human rights abuses in China.

Hu’s wife, human rights activist Zeng Jinyan, applied in April 2008 for medical parole for her husband, who suffered from chronic liver disease, but the request was turned down, according to updates posted on her blog, Liao Liao Yuan. The day of the Olympic opening ceremony in August 2008, Zeng was taken to the city of Dalian, Liaoning province, and only allowed to return to her Beijing home after 16 days. She reported this on her blog with no further explanation.

The European Parliament awarded Hu a prestigious human rights accolade, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, in October 2008. The Chinese ambassador to the European Union warned that the prize would “bring serious damage to China-EU relations,” according to The Associated Press.

In October 2008, Hu was transferred to the Beijing Municipal Prison, according to Zeng’s blog. He raised human rights issues in jail, prompting security officials to cut off family visitation rights from November 2008 to February 2009, according to online news reports. Zeng reported that Hu’s health was deteriorating and that the prison did not have facilities to treat his liver condition.

Human Rights Watch awarded Hu a Hellman/Hammett grant for persecuted writers in October 2009.

Dhondup Wangchen, Filming for Tibet

Imprisoned: March 26, 2008

Police in Tongde, Qinghai province, arrested Wangchen, a Tibetan documentary filmmaker, shortly after he sent footage filmed in Tibet to colleagues, according to the production company, Filming for Tibet. A 25-minute film titled “Jigdrel” (Leaving Fear Behind) was produced from the tapes. Wangchen’s assistant, Jigme Gyatso, was also arrested, once in March 2008, and again in March 2009, after speaking out about his treatment in prison, Filming for Tibet said.

Filming for Tibet was founded in Switzerland by Gyaljong Tsetrin, a relative of Wangchen, who left Tibet in 2002 but maintained contact with people there. Tsetrin told CPJ that he had spoken to Wangchen on March 25, 2008, but that he had lost contact after that. He learned of the detention only later, after speaking by telephone with relatives.

Filming for the documentary was completed shortly before peaceful protests against Chinese rule of Tibet deteriorated into riots in Lhasa and in Tibetan areas of China in March 2008. The filmmakers had gone to Tibet to ask ordinary people about their lives under Chinese rule in the run-up to the Olympics.

The arrests were first publicized when the documentary was first shown in August 2008 before a small group of foreign reporters in a hotel room in Beijing on August 6. A second screening was interrupted by hotel management, according to Reuters.

Officials in Xining, Qinghai province, charged the filmmaker with inciting separatism and replaced the Tibetan’s own lawyer with a government appointee in July 2009, according to international reports.

On December 28, 2009, the Xining Intermediate People’s Court in Qinghai sentenced Wangchen to six years imprisonment on subversion charges, according to a statement issued by his family.

Wangchen was born in Qinghai but moved to Lhasa as a young man, according to his published biography. He had recently relocated with his wife, Lhamo Tso, and four children to Dharamsala, India, before returning to Tibet to begin filming, according to a report published in October 2008 by the South China Morning Post.

Tsetrin told CPJ that Wangchen's assistant, Gyatso, was arrested on March 23, 2008. Gyatso, released on October 15, 2008, later described having been brutally beaten by interrogators during his seven months in detention, according to Filming for Tibet. The Dharamsala-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported that Gyatso was rearrested in March 2009 and released the next month.

Chen Daojun, freelance

Imprisoned: May 9, 2008

Police arrested Chen in Sichuan province shortly after he was involved in a “strolling” nonviolent protest against a proposed petrochemical plant in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, according to English- and Chinese-language news reports.

In November 2008, he was found guilty of inciting subversion against the state, according to international news reports. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

Prosecutors introduced three articles by Chen to demonstrate a purportedly anti-government stance, according to the Independent Chinese PEN Center. In one piece, an article for the Hong Kong-based political magazine Zheng Ming, Chen portrayed antigovernment protests in Tibet in a positive light. That article, first published in April 2008, was reposted on overseas websites. He also published an online article objecting to the Chengdu project, but it was not among the articles cited by the prosecution.

Huang Qi, 6-4tianwang

Imprisoned: June 10, 2008

The website 6-4tianwang reported that its founder, Huang, had been forced into a car along with two friends on June 10, 2008. On June 18, news reports said police had detained him and charged him with illegally holding state secrets.

In the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake in May 2008, Huang’s website reported on the shoddy construction of schools that collapsed during the quake, killing hundreds of children, and on efforts to help victims of the disaster. His arrest came shortly after the site reported the detention of academic Zeng Hongling, who posted articles critical of earthquake relief on overseas websites.

Huang was denied access to a lawyer until September 23, 2008. One of his defense lawyers, Mo Shaoping, told reporters that Huang had been questioned about earthquake-related reports and photos on the website immediately after his arrest, but that the state secrets charge stemmed from documents saved on his computer. He said that his client was deprived of sleep during a 24-hour interrogation session after his June arrest.

Huang pleaded not guilty in closed proceedings at Chengdu Wuhou District Court on August 5, 2009. Police arrested a defense witness to prevent him from testifying on Huang’s behalf, according to the New York-based advocacy group Human Rights in China.

He was sentenced to three years in prison during a brief hearing in November 2009. The reason for the unusually drawn-out legal proceedings was not clear. Analysts speculated that it indicated the weakness of the case against Huang and disagreement among authorities as to the severity of the punishment.

Beginning in 2000, Huang had spent five years in prison on charges of inciting subversion in articles posted on his website.

Du Daobin, freelance

Imprisoned: July 21, 2008

Police rearrested Du during an apparent crackdown on dissidents before the Beijing Olympics in August 2008. His defense lawyer, Mo Shaoping, told CPJ that public security officials arrested the well-known Internet writer at his workplace in Yingcheng in the province of Hubei.

Du had been serving a four-year probationary term, handed down by a court on June 11, 2004, for inciting subversion of state power in articles published on Chinese and overseas websites. The probationary terms included reporting monthly to authorities and obtaining permission to travel. Alleging that he had violated the conditions, police revoked Du’s probation and jailed him, according to news reports.

Mo told CPJ in October 2008 that the defense team had sought to challenge the police decision, but Chinese law does not allow such appeals. Du was in Hanxi Prison in Wuhan, the provincial capital.

Mehbube Abrak (Mehbube Ablesh), freelance

Imprisoned: August 2008

Abrak, a state radio employee in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, was serving a three-year prison term for promoting “splittism,” according to information the Chinese government provided in June 2010 to the California-based human rights advocacy organization Dui Hua Foundation.

An employee of the advertising department of the state-run Xinjiang People’s Radio Station, she was removed from her post in August 2008 and imprisoned. Her colleagues told the U.S.-government funded Radio Free Asia that her imprisonment stemmed from articles criticizing the government that were posted on overseas websites. Radio Free Asia referred to her as Mehbube Ablesh.

Authorities imprisoned a number of journalists who covered ethnic unrest in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, a politically sensitive issue that is considered off-limits.

Liu Xiaobo, freelance

Imprisoned: December 8, 2008

Liu, a longtime advocate for political reform in China and the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was imprisoned for “inciting subversion” through his writing.

Liu was an author of Charter 08, a document promoting universal values, human rights, and democratic reform in China, and was among its 300 original signatories. He was detained in Beijing shortly before the charter was officially released, according to international news reports.

Liu was formally charged with subversion in June 2009, and he was tried in the Beijing Number 1 Intermediate Court in December of that year. Diplomats from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Sweden were denied access to the trial, the BBC reported. On December 25, 2009, the court convicted Liu of “inciting subversion” and sentenced him to 11 years in prison and two years’ deprivation of political rights.

The verdict cited several articles Liu had posted on overseas websites, including the BBC’s Chinese-language site and the U.S.-based websites Epoch Times and Observe China, all of which had criticized Communist Party rule. Six articles were named—including pieces headlined, “So the Chinese people only deserve ‘one-party participatory democracy?’” and “Changing the regime by changing society”—as evidence that Liu had incited subversion. Liu’s income was generated by his writing, his wife told the court.

The court verdict cited Liu’s authorship and distribution of Charter 08 as further evidence of subversion. The Beijing Municipal High People’s Court upheld the verdict in February 2010.

In October, the Nobel Prize Committee awarded Liu its 2010 Peace Prize “for his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”

Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang, Chomei

Imprisoned: February 26, 2009

Public security officials arrested Kunchok Tsephel, an online writer, in Gannan, a Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the south of Gansu province, according to Tibetan rights groups. Kunchok Tsephel ran the Tibetan cultural issues website Chomei, according to the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. Kate Saunders, U.K. communications director for the International Campaign for Tibet, told CPJ by telephone from New Delhi that she learned of his arrest from two sources.

The detention appeared to be part of a wave of arrests of writers and intellectuals in advance of the 50th anniversary of the 1959 uprising preceding the Dalai Lama’s departure from Tibet in March. The 2008 anniversary had provoked ethnic rioting in Tibetan areas, and foreign reporters were barred from the region.

In November 2009, a Gannan court sentenced Kunchok Tsephel to 15 years in prison for disclosing state secrets, according to The Associated Press.

Kunga Tsayang (Gang-Nyi), freelance

Imprisoned: March 17, 2009

The Public Security Bureau arrested Kunga Tsayang during a late-night raid, according to the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, which said it had received the information from several sources.

An environmental activist and photographer who also wrote online articles under the penname Gang-Nyi (Sun of Snowland), Tsayang maintained his own website titled Zindris (Jottings) and contributed to others. He wrote several essays on politics in Tibet, including “Who Is the Real Instigator of Protests?” according to the New York-based advocacy group Students for a Free Tibet.

Kunga Tsayang was convicted of revealing state secrets and sentenced in November 2010 to five years in prison, according to the center. Sentencing was imposed during a closed court proceeding in the Tibetan area of Gannan, Gansu province.

Several Tibetans, including journalists, were arrested around the March 10 anniversary of the failed uprising in 1959 that prompted the Dalai Lama’s departure from Tibet. Security measures were heightened in the region in the aftermath of ethnic rioting in March 2008.

Tan Zuoren, freelance

Imprisoned: March 28, 2009

Tan, an environmentalist and activist, had been investigating the deaths of schoolchildren killed in the May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province when he was detained in Chengdu.

Tan, believing that shoddy school construction contributed to the high death toll, had intended to publish the results of his investigation ahead of the first anniversary of the earthquake, according to international news reports.

His supporters believe Tan was detained because of his investigation, although the formal charges did not cite his earthquake reporting. Instead, he was charged with “inciting subversion” for writings posted on overseas websites that criticized the military crackdown on demonstrators at Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

In particular, authorities cited “1989: A Witness to the Final Beauty,” a firsthand account of the events published on overseas websites in 2007, according to court documents. Several witnesses, including the prominent artist Ai Weiwei, were detained and blocked from testifying on Tan’s behalf at his August 2009 trial.

On February 9, 2010, Tan was convicted, and sentenced to five years in prison, according to international news reports. On June 9, 2010, Sichuan Provincial High People’s Court rejected his appeal.

Gulmire Imin, freelance

Imprisoned: July or August 2009

Imin was one of an unknown number of administrators of Uighur-language Web forums who were arrested after July 2009 riots in Urumqi, in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

In August 2010, Imin was sentenced to life in prison on charges of separatism, leaking state secrets, and organizing an illegal demonstration, a witness to her trial told the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia.

Imin held a local government post in Urumqi. As a sidelight, she contributed poetry and short stories to the cultural website Salkin, and had been invited to help as a moderator in late spring 2009, her husband, Behtiyar Omer, told CPJ.

Authorities accused Imin of being an organizer of major demonstrations on July 5, 2009, and of using the Uighur-language website to distribute information about the event, Radio Free Asia reported. Imin had been critical of the government in her online writings, readers of the website told Radio Free Asia. The website was shut after the July riots and its contents were deleted.

She was also accused of leaking state secrets by phone to her husband, who lives in Norway. Her husband said he had called her on July 5 only to be sure she was safe.

The riots, which began as a protest of the death of Uighur migrant workers in Guangdong province, turned violent and resulted in the deaths of 200 people, according to the official Chinese government count. Chinese authorities shut down the Internet in Xinjiang for months after the riots as hundreds of protesters were arrested, according to international human rights organizations and local and international media reports.

Nureli, Salkin
Nijat Azat, Shabnam

Imprisoned: July or August 2009

Authorities imprisoned Nureli, who goes by one name, and Azat in an apparent crackdown on Uighur-language website managers. Azat was sentenced to 10 years and Nureli three years for endangering state security, according to international news reports. The precise dates of their arrests and convictions were not clear.

Their sites, which have been shut down by the government, had run news articles and discussion groups concerning Uighur issues. The New York Times cited friends and family members of the men who said they were prosecuted because they had failed to respond quickly enough when they were ordered to delete content that discussed the difficulties of life in Xinjiang.

Dilixiati Paerhati, Diyarim

Imprisoned: August 7, 2009

Paerhati, who edited the popular Uighur-language website Diyarim, was one of several online forum administrators arrested after ethnic violence in Urumqi in July 2009.

Paerhati was sentenced to a five-year prison term in July 2010 on charges of endangering state security, according to international news reports. He was detained and interrogated about riots in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region on July 24, 2009, but released without charge after eight days.

Agents seized Paerhati from his apartment on August 7, 2009, although the government issued no formal notice of arrest, his U.K.-based brother, Dilimulati, told Amnesty International. International news reports, citing his brother, said authorities had demanded Paerhati delete anti-government comments on the website.

Gheyrat Niyaz (Hailaite Niyazi), Uighurbiz

Imprisoned: October 1, 2009

Security officials arrested website manager Niyaz, sometimes referred to as Hailaite Niyazi, in his home in the regional capital, Urumqi, according to international news reports. He was convicted under sweeping charges of “endangering state security.”

According to international media reports, Niyaz was punished because of an August 2, 2009, interview with Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly), a Chinese-language magazine based in Hong Kong. In the interview, Niyaz said authorities had not taken steps to prevent violence in the July 2009 ethnic unrest that broke out in China’s far-western Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. At the time, media reports said about 200 people had been killed in the violence.

Niyaz, who once worked for the state newspapers Xinjiang Legal News and Xinjiang Economic Daily, also managed and edited the website Uighurbiz until June 2009. A statement posted on the website quoted Niyaz’s wife as saying that while he did give interviews to foreign media he had no malicious intentions.

Authorities blamed local and international Uighur sites for fueling the violence between Uighurs and Han Chinese in the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang region.

Uighurbiz founder Ilham Tohti was questioned about the contents of the site and detained for more than six weeks, according to international news reports.

Tashi Rabten, freelance

Imprisoned: April 6, 2010

Public security officials detained Rabten, a student at Northwest Minorities University in Lanzhou, according to Phayul, a pro-Tibetan independence news website based in New Delhi. No formal charges or trial proceedings had been disclosed by late year.

Rabten edited the magazine Shar Dungri (Eastern Snow Mountain) in the aftermath of ethnic rioting in Tibet in March 2008. The magazine was swiftly banned by local authorities, according to the International Campaign for Tibet. The journalist later self-published a collection of articles titled “Written in Blood,” saying in the introduction that “after an especially intense year of the usual soul-destroying events, something had to be said,” the campaign reported. The book and the magazine discussed democracy and recent anti-China protests; the book was banned after he had distributed 400 copies, according to the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia.

Rabten had been detained once before, in 2009, according to RFA and international Tibetan rights groups.

Dokru Tsultrim (Zhuori Cicheng), freelance

Imprisoned: May 24, 2010

A monk at Ngaba Gomang Monastery in western Sichuan province, Dokru Tsultrim was detained in April 2009 for alleged anti-government writings and articles in support of the Dalai Lama, according to the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy and the International Campaign for Tibet. Released after a month in custody, he was detained again in May 2010, according to the Dharamsala-based Tibet Post International. No formal charges or trial proceedings had been disclosed by late 2010.

At the time of his 2010 arrest, security officials raided his room at the monastery, confiscated documents, and demanded his laptop, a relative told The Tibet Post International. He and a friend had planned to publish the writings of Tibetan youths detailing an April 2010 earthquake in Qinghai province, the relative said.

Dokru Tsultrim, originally from Qinghai province, which is on the Tibetan plateau, also managed a private Tibetan journal, Khawai Tsesok (Life of Snow), which ceased publication after his 2009 arrest, the center said. “Zhuori Cicheng” is the Chinese transliteration of his name, according to Tashi Choephel Jamatsang at the center, who provided CPJ with details by e-mail.

Buddha, freelance
Jangtse Donkho (Rongke), freelance
Kalsang Jinpa, freelance

Imprisoned: June and July 2010

The three men, contributors to the banned Tibetan-language magazine Shar Dungri (Eastern Snow Mountain), were detained in Aba, a Tibetan area in southwestern Sichuan province, the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

Jangtse Donkho, an author and editor who wrote under the penname Nyen, meaning Wild One, was detained on June 21, RFA reported. The name on his official ID is Rongke, according to the International Campaign for Tibet. Many Tibetans use only one name.

Buddha, a practicing physician, was detained on June 26 at the hospital where he worked in the town of Aba. Kalsang Jinpa, who wrote under the penname Garmi, meaning Blacksmith, was detained on June 19, the broadcaster reported, citing local sources.

On October 21, they were tried together in the Aba Intermediate Court. The charge was not disclosed, but a source told RFA that it may have been inciting separatism based on articles they had written in the aftermath of ethnic rioting in March 2008. No verdict had been disclosed in late year.

Shar Dungri was a collection of essays published in July 2008 and distributed in western China before authorities banned the publication, according to the advocacy group International Campaign for Tibet, which translated the journal. The writers assailed Chinese human rights abuses against Tibetans, lamented a history of repression, and questioned official media accounts of the March 2008 unrest.

Buddha’s essay, “Hindsight and Reflection,” was presented as part of the prosecution, RFA reported. According to a translation of the essay by the International Campaign for Tibet, Buddha wrote: “If development means even the slightest difference between today’s standards and the living conditions of half a century ago, why the disparity between the pace of construction and progress in Tibet and in mainland China?”

The editor of Shar Dungri, Tashi Rabten, was also jailed in 2010.

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Cuba: 4

Pedro Argüelles Morán, Cooperativa Avileña de Periodistas Independientes

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

The Cuban government freed 17 journalists arrested in the Black Spring crackdown of 2003, but four independent reporters and editors remained in prison when CPJ conducted its annual census on December 1.

Argüelles Morán was sentenced in April 2003 to 20 years in prison under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba’s National Independence and Economy, which punishes anyone who commits acts “aiming at subverting the internal order of the nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system.”

Argüelles Morán, director of the independent news agency Cooperativa Avileña de Periodistas Independientes in the central province of Ciego de Ávila, was being held at the Canaleta Prison in his home province, his wife, Yolanda Vera Nerey, told CPJ. She said her husband, 62, had bone and respiratory ailments and cataracts in both eyes.

In July 2010, the Catholic Church brokered an agreement with Cuban authorities to release 52 political prisoners arrested in the 2003 crackdown. Spanish government officials also participated in the talks. The Cuban government did not explicitly demand that freed prisoners leave the country as a condition of release, but it’s clear that is what authorities wanted: All 17 of the reporters released as of December 1 were immediately exiled to Spain. (One later relocated to Chile.)

Three journalists swept up in the 2003 crackdown and a fourth arrested in 2009 remained in jail when CPJ conducted its December 1 census. The remaining detainees from the 2003 crackdown expressed their desire to stay in Cuba upon release, the reporters' families told CPJ. A story published in September by the Madrid-based daily El País quoted Spanish officials as saying that imprisoned reporters who wanted to stay in Cuba upon release would be freed through a parole program. The Cuban government, however, did not confirm those plans.

Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández, the detainee arrested in 2009, had not been offered release under any condition as of December 1, according to the Havana-based Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

Iván Hernández Carrillo, Patria

Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

A reporter for the independent news agency Patria in the western city of Colón, Hernández Carrillo was sentenced in April 2003 to 25 years in prison under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba’s National Independence and Economy. Hernández Carrillo, 39, was subjected to harassment and assault while in prison, according to his mother, Asunción Carrillo, who said prison authorities had encouraged inmates to attack him.

Although the government released a number of political prisoners in 2010, Hernández Carrillo was among four Cuban journalists still in prison when CPJ conducted its annual census on December 1. Three had been swept up in the 2003 crackdown and a fourth was arrested in 2009.

In July 2010, the Catholic Church brokered an agreement with Cuban authorities to release 52 political prisoners, including 20 journalists, who were arrested during the 2003 crackdown. Spanish government officials also participated in the talks. The Cuban government did not explicitly demand that freed prisoners leave the country as a condition of release, but it’s clear that is what authorities wanted: All 17 of the reporters released as of December 1 were immediately exiled to Spain. (One later relocated to Chile.)

The remaining detainees from the 2003 crackdown expressed their desire to stay in Cuba upon release, the reporters’ families told CPJ. A story published in September by the Madrid-based daily El País quoted Spanish officials as saying that imprisoned reporters who wanted to stay in Cuba upon release would be freed through a parole program. The Cuban government, however, did not confirm those plans.

After July talks between the government and the Catholic Church, Hernández Carrillo was transferred from a prison in Santa Clara province, about 90 miles (150 kilometers) from his family’s home in Matanzas province, to La Henequenera Prison in his home province, his mother told CPJ. He suffered from hypertension and gastritis.

Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, Grupo de Trabajo Decoro

Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Maseda Gutiérrez was arrested in the March 2003 crackdown on dissidents and the independent press. He was charged under Article 91 of the Cuban penal code for acting “against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state” and Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba’s National Independence and Economy. In a closed-door summary trial the following month, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

An engineer with a graduate degree in nuclear physics, Maseda Gutiérrez, 67, began working as an independent journalist in 1995 and was a founding member of the independent news agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro, according to his wife, Laura Pollán Toledo. In 2008, he was awarded CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award.

Although the government released a number of political prisoners in 2010, Maseda Gutiérrez was among four Cuban journalists still in prison when CPJ conducted its annual census on December 1. Three had been swept up in the 2003 crackdown and a fourth was arrested in 2009.

In July 2010, the Catholic Church brokered an agreement with Cuban authorities to release 52 political prisoners, including 20 journalists, who were arrested during the 2003 crackdown. Spanish government officials also participated in the talks. The Cuban government did not explicitly demand that freed prisoners leave the country as a condition of release, but it’s clear that is what authorities wanted: All 17 of the reporters released as of December 1 were immediately exiled to Spain. (One later relocated to Chile.)

The remaining detainees from the 2003 crackdown expressed their desire to stay in Cuba upon release, the reporters’ families told CPJ. A story published in September by the Madrid-based daily El País quoted Spanish officials as saying that imprisoned reporters who wanted to stay in Cuba upon release would be freed through a parole program. The Cuban government, however, did not confirm those plans.

After July talks between the government and the Catholic Church, Maseda Gutiérrez was transferred from a prison in western Matanzas province, a four-hour bus ride from his home in Havana City, to the 15-80 Prison in Havana province, a one-hour ride from his home, his wife said. She said her husband suffered from high blood pressure and skin ailments.

Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández, Havana Press

Imprisoned: April 18, 2009

Police arrested Du Bouchet Hernández, director of the independent news agency Havana Press, as he was visiting relatives outside the city. Officers alleged that the journalist had shouted antigovernment slogans in the street.

In May 2009, Du Bouchet Hernández was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of “disrespect” and distribution of enemy propaganda. Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz, president of the Havana-based Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, told CPJ that the journalist had been in a summary proceeding without the assistance of a defense lawyer. Miriam Herrera, an independent journalist based in Havana, told CPJ that Du Bouchet Hernández had reported on social issues, which could have upset local authorities.

In 2010, Du Bouchet Hernández was being held at the Melena II Prison, in Havana province, his colleague Roberto De Jesús Guerra told CPJ. He faced appalling prison conditions, including poor food and overflowing wastewater, De Jesús Guerra said. Du Bouchet Hernández was subjected to beatings, but continued reporting from prison on jail conditions, prisoners’ life stories, and human rights violations, CPJ research showed.

Du Bouchet Hernández was not included in a July 2010 agreement between the Cuban government and the Catholic Church to release 52 political prisoners swept up in the 2003 crackdown on dissidents and the independent press. As of December 1, he had not been offered his release under any conditions, according to the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

Du Bouchet Hernández had also been jailed in 2005 on “disrespect” charges and sentenced to one year in prison after he enraged authorities with his coverage of a two-day gathering that brought together 200 opposition activists and guests to discuss ways to create democracy in Cuba. Du Bouchet Hernández was released in August 2006 after completing his sentence.

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Egypt: 1

Magdy Hussein, Al-Shaab

Imprisoned: January 31, 2009

Hussein, who once edited the long-banned opposition newspaper Al-Shaab, was initially arrested on charges of illegally crossing into Gaza. In February 2009, a military court sentenced Hussein, a vocal critic of President Hosni Mubarak, to a two-year prison sentence.

While in prison, authorities resurrected a 14-year-old criminal defamation case stemming from opinion pieces in Al-Shaab that accused then-Interior Minister Hassan El Alfy of corruption and mismanagement. In 1996, a court convicted Hussein of defamation and fined him 15,000 Egyptian pounds (US$2,631).

Hussein’s lawyers appealed the ruling at the time to the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest court, but the case sat dormant until 2010, when the court abruptly decided to hear the appeal. That the appeal was heard after such a long dormancy was seen by human rights lawyers as a political move aimed at keeping Hussein in prison.

The Court of Cassation ordered a lower court to retry the defamation case. A Cairo court then issued a new decision in mid-June, imposing a one-year prison term. The new verdict “took everybody by surprise and obviously came about to keep an influential writer and opposition figure behind bars and far away from future parliamentary and presidential elections,” Gamal Eid, executive director of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, told CPJ.

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Eritrea: 17

Ghebrehiwet Keleta, Tsigenay

Imprisoned: July 2000

Security agents arrested Keleta, a reporter for the private weekly Tsigenay, while he was on his way to work in July 2000. He has not been heard from since. Sources told CPJ at the time that the reporter was being held in connection with the government’s overall crackdown on the press.

Said Abdelkader, Admas
Yusuf Mohamed Ali, Tsigenay
Amanuel Asrat, Zemen
Temesken Ghebreyesus, Keste Debena
Mattewos Habteab, Meqaleh
Dawit Habtemichael, Meqaleh
Medhanie Haile, Keste Debena
Dawit Isaac, Setit
Seyoum Tsehaye, freelance

Imprisoned: September 2001

Eritrean security forces jailed at least 10 local journalists without charge or trial in the days after September 18, 2001. The arrests took place less than a week after authorities effectively shut down the country’s fledgling private press.

Authorities vaguely accused the journalists of avoiding the country’s compulsory military service, threatening national security, and failing to observe licensing requirements. CPJ research indicates that the crackdown was part of a government drive to crush political dissent ahead of elections scheduled for December 2001, which were subsequently canceled. The private press had reported on divisions within the ruling party, the Eritrean People’s Defense Force, and had criticized the increasingly authoritarian nature of President Isaias Afewerki’s regime.

The journalists were initially held incommunicado at a police station in Asmara, where they began a hunger strike on March 31, 2002, and smuggled a message out of jail demanding due process. The government responded by transferring them to secret locations and has since refused to divulge their health, whereabouts, or legal status. No charges, court proceedings, or convictions have ever been publicly disclosed.

“I don’t know them at all,” presidential spokesman Yemane Ghebremeskel said in an October 2010 response to CPJ inquiries seeking basic information on the detainees. Several CPJ sources said that most of the journalists were being held in a secret prison camp called Eiraeiro, near the village of Gahtelay.

CPJ has confirmed that one of the 10 journalists initially arrested has died. Publisher and editor Fesshaye “Joshua” Yohannes, 47, a 2002 recipient of CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award, died in custody on an unknown date, several sources confirmed to CPJ in early 2007.

At least two reports have said that other journalists also died in custody. In April 2010, the Ethiopian station Radio Wegahta broadcast an interview with Eyob Bahta Habtemariam, an Eritrean defector described as a former supervisory guard at two prisons northeast of Asmara. Habtemariam claimed that extreme heat had taken the life of Tsigenay editor Ali in 2003, while Keste Debena editor Haile had died from unspecified maltreatment in 2004. He said Admas editor Abdelkader had taken his own life in 2003, and that Meqaleh editor Habteab had also died of maltreatment in 2006.

Emmanuel Hadgo, a spokesman for the Eritrean Information Ministry, told CPJ that Habtemariam had never worked for the government and that the statements were untrue. He did not respond directly to the question of whether the journalists were alive.


An unbylined 2006 report published on several websites, including Aigaforum, a site considered close to the Ethiopian government, noted the deaths of three detained journalists. The report cited the deaths of “Mr. Yusuf,” believed by CPJ sources to refer to Yusuf Mohamed Ali of Tsigenay; “Mr. Medhane Tewelde,” believed to refer to Medhanie Haile of Keste Debena; and “Mr. Said,” believed to refer to Said Abdelkader of Admas. Although details of the report could not be independently corroborated, CPJ sources considered it to be generally credible.

CPJ continues to seek corroboration of the reported deaths. It lists the four journalists on the 2010 prison census as a means of holding the government responsible for their fates.

The case of Setit co-owner Isaac, an Eritrean with Swedish citizenship, has drawn considerable attention in Sweden, where diplomats, journalists, and grassroots activists campaigned for his release. Isaac was briefly released on November 19, 2005, and allowed to phone his family and a friend in Sweden, but was returned to jail two days later with no explanation.

Asked about Isaac’s “crime” in a 2009 interview with Swedish freelance journalist Donald Boström, Afewerki replied, “I don’t know.” He added: “I don't even care where he is or what he is doing. He did a big mistake.” In October, Isaac was honored with the World Association of Newspapers’ Golden Pen of Freedom.

Hamid Mohammed Said, Eri-TV

Imprisoned: February 15, 2002

During a July 2002 fact-finding mission to the capital, Asmara, a CPJ delegation confirmed that Eritrean authorities had arrested three state media reporters in February 2002 as part of the government’s mass crackdown on the press, which began in September 2001. Reporters Saadia Ahmed and Saleh Aljezeeri were released, according to CPJ sources.

Eri-TV reporter Said was believed still being held in an undisclosed location, sources told CPJ. The government has ignored numerous inquiries from CPJ and other organizations seeking information about the journalist’s whereabouts, health, and legal status.

Bereket Misguina, Radio Bana
Mulubruhan Weldegebriel, Radio Bana
Ghirmai Abraham, Radio Bana
Issak Abraham, Radio Bana
Meles Nguse, Radio Bana
Yirgalem Fesseha, Radio Bana

Imprisoned: January and February 2009

Eritrean security forces arrested six government journalists as part of a crackdown on staffers connected to Radio Bana, an Education Ministry-sponsored station in Asmara, according to several CPJ sources. Authorities ordered the arrests based on suspicions that the journalists and other staffers had provided information to foreign-based Eritrean opposition organizations and news websites, according to the sources. The detainees were being held in Mai Srwa and Adi Abieto military camps.

The journalists had worked for other state media. Ghirmai Abraham had been producer of an arts program, and Issak Abraham had produced a Sunday entertainment show on state Radio Dimtsi Hafash. Misguina (also a film director and scriptwriter), Nguse (also a poet), and Fesseha (a poet as well) were columnists for the state-run daily Hadas Eritrea. Weldegebriel was the author of a column on celebrities for Hadas Eritrea.

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Ethiopia: 4

Saleh Idris Gama, Eri-TV
Tesfalidet Kidane Tesfazghi, Eri-TV

Imprisoned: December 2006

Ethiopian authorities have refused to provide information about the whereabouts, legal status, or health of Gama and Tesfazghi, Eritrean state television journalists who were arrested by Kenyan border authorities in late 2006 after the Ethiopian military invasion of southern Somalia.

Tesfazghi, a producer, and Gama, a cameraman, were held for three weeks by Kenyan authorities and then handed to the Ethiopian-backed Somali transitional government in January 2007, according to the Eritrean Foreign Ministry. In April 2007, the Ethiopian government acknowledged that it had detained 41 people who were “captured” in Somalia on suspicion of “terrorism,” according to news reports.

In a video aired on state television, the Ethiopian government suggested the journalists were involved in military activities in Somalia. Though Eritrean journalists were often conscripted into military service, the video did not present any evidence linking the journalists to military activity. A Foreign Ministry statement said some detainees would be tried “before the competent military court” but did not identify them by name.

In August 2010, government spokesman Shemelis Kemal would not disclose the journalists’ whereabouts, their health, or legal status. “The two people are not even journalists,” he said.

Haileyesus Worku, Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency
Abdulsemed Mohammed, Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency

Imprisoned: April 22, 2010

The Ethiopian Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission ordered the arrests of editor Worku and producer Mohammed of the government-controlled national public broadcaster on charges of smuggling station material to an unidentified third party, local journalists told CPJ.

A week after their arrests, Ethiopian government spokesman Bereket Simon told CPJ the journalists had been “caught red-handed” but would not provide any details. Prosecutors amended charges to include corruption and copyright violations while the journalists were in pretrial detention in Kality Prison in late year.

Local journalists said Worku was accused of trying to copy footage of the government’s brutal repression of the May 2005 post-election protests, and that Mohammed was lending technical assistance.

A few months before his arrest, Mohammed, a 14-year veteran of the station, was demoted from senior editor to an entertainment producer’s job as part of civil service changes that put government loyalists in ranking positions, according to local journalists.

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The Gambia: 1

“Chief” Ebrima Manneh, Daily Observer

Imprisoned: July 7, 2006

Agents of the National Intelligence Agency picked up Manneh, a reporter with the government-controlled Daily Observer, after he tried to print a BBC story critical of President Yahya Jammeh. Colleagues witnessed his arrest by two plainclothes officers at the premises of the Daily Observer.

Manneh has been seen but a few times since his arrest. A fellow journalist reported seeing him on the grounds of Fatoto Prison in late 2006. The next year, witnesses told the Ghana-based press freedom group Media Foundation of West Africa that Manneh was being treated for high blood pressure at the Royal Victorian Teaching Hospital in Banjul.

Despite the sightings, Gambian security agencies and police have consistently refused to provide information on the journalist’s whereabouts, health, or legal status. In its periodic review submission to the U.N. Human Rights Council in February 2010, a Gambian delegation led by Attorney General and Minister of Justice Marie Saine-Firdaus declared that “the government has investigated his whereabouts, but to no avail.”

The case has galvanized a variety of forces to pressure the Gambian government. In March 2010, U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin and four other senators sent a letter to Kamalesh Sharma, secretary-general of the Commonwealth of Nations, urging him to investigate Manneh’s case. In 2009, the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions called for Manneh’s release.

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Indonesia: 1

Erwin Arnada, Playboy Indonesia

Imprisoned: October 9, 2010

Arnada, editor of the now-defunct Playboy Indonesia, surrendered to authorities at Cipinang Prison in East Jakarta to begin a two-year sentence on charges of public indecency. The Supreme Court, reversing two lower-court acquittals, convicted Arnada on indecency charges related to material published in a 2006 issue of the magazine. Although the Supreme Court’s ruling was dated 2009, it was not publicly disclosed until August 2009.

Soon after opening, the magazine came under fire from the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI. After militants sought to vandalize the magazine’s Jakarta office, Playboy Indonesia moved to the island of Bali. But political pressure eventually led to Arnada’s arrest in 2007 and to the closing of the magazine after just 10 issues.

By numerous accounts, the magazine was considered no more provocative than numerous other publications available in Indonesia. FPI leader Ahmad Shobri Lubis acknowledged to The New York Times that Playboy Indonesia’s photographs were less revealing than those printed in many Indonesian publications.

Defense lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis said an appeal was being pursued. He said Arnada was being held in the general population at Cipinang, a high-security facility that has often been used to hold political activists and accused terrorists.

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Iran: 34

Adnan Hassanpour, Aso

Imprisoned: January 25, 2007

Security agents seized Hassanpour, former editor of the now-defunct Kurdish-Persian weekly Aso, in his hometown of Marivan, Kurdistan province, according to news reports.

In July 2007, a Revolutionary Court convicted Hassanpour on antistate charges and sentenced him to death. After a series of appeals and reversals, he was sentenced in May 2010 to 15 years in prison, defense lawyer Saleh Nikbakht told the Reporters and Human Rights Activists News Agency.

The government’s case against Hassanpour amounted to a series of assertions by security agents, defense attorney Sirvan Hosmandi told CPJ in 2008. Hassanpour’s sister, Lily, told CPJ that she believed his critical writings were behind the charges.

Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, Payam-e-Mardom

Imprisoned: July 1, 2007

Plainclothes security officials arrested journalist and human rights activist Kaboudvand at his Tehran office, according to Amnesty International and CPJ sources. He was being held at Evin Prison in Tehran.

Authorities accused Kaboudvand, head of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan and managing editor of the weekly Payam-e-Mardom, of acting against national security and engaging in propaganda against the state, according to his organization’s website. A Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced him to 11 years in prison. Kaboudvand was reported in ill health, but authorities refused requests for medical furlough. Based on their visits, family members feared he had suffered a stroke, the Kurdish human rights website Rawa News reported.

Kaboudvand’s lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, was herself taken into custody in September 2010, according to news reports. Sotoudeh’s arrest was part of a government crackdown on lawyers seeking to defend political prisoners and journalists. Lawyers have been intimidated, temporarily detained, and in some cases audited for tax evasion.

Mojtaba Lotfi, freelance

Imprisoned: October 8, 2008

A clergyman and blogger, Lotfi was arrested by security forces on a warrant issued by the religious ‎Clergy Court in Qom. Authorities accused him of publishing the views of Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, the now-deceased cleric who had criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s positions.

Authorities did not specify particular articles or publications in which the views were supposedly cited. In November 2009, Lotfi was convicted of several charges, including spreading antistate information, and sentenced to four years in prison followed by a period of exile, according to online reports.

On July 10, the Human Rights House of Iran reported that Lotfi had been transferred to the remote village of Ashtian for a period of enforced internal exile. News reports were conflicted on the period of exile.

Hossein Derakhshan, freelance

Imprisoned: November 2008

On December 30, 2008, a spokesman for the Iranian Judiciary confirmed in a press conference in Tehran that Derakhshan, a well-known Iranian-Canadian blogger, had been detained since November 2008 in connection with comments he allegedly made about a key cleric, according to local and international news reports. The exact date of Derakhshan’s arrest is unknown, but news of his detention first appeared on November 17, 2008, on a website close to the Iranian intelligence apparatus. At the time, Jahan News reported that he had confessed to “spying for Israel” during the preliminary interrogation.

Known as the “Blogfather” for his pioneering online work, Derakhshan started blogging after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. A former writer for reformist newspapers, he also contributed opinion pieces to The Guardian of London and The New York Times. The journalist, who lived in Canada during most of the last decade, returned to Tehran a few weeks before his detention, The Washington Post reported. In November 2009, the BBC Persian service reported that Derakhshan’s family had sought information about his whereabouts and the charges he faced, and expressed concern about having very limited contact with him.

On September 29, the government announced that Derakhshan had been sentenced to 19 and a half years in prison, along with a five-year ban on “membership in political parties and activities in the media,” according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and other sources. Derakhshan has spent most of his imprisonment in solitary confinement at Evin Prison, according to multiple sources. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, citing a source close to the journalist’s family, said Derakhshan had been beaten and coerced into making false confessions about having ties to U.S. and Israeli intelligence services.

Nader Karimi Jooni, freelance

Imprisoned: December 2008

Jooni, arrested in late 2008, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on January 11, 2010, on charges of mutiny, espionage, and acting against national security, according to the reformist website Kalame. He denied the charges and said the case was politicized.

Jooni, a political editor and writer for now-defunct publications such as Gozaresh, Fekr, Jahan-e-Sanat, and Siasat-e-Rooz, was placed in Evin Prison’s Ward 209, where political prisoners are held. He is an Iran-Iraq War veteran who requires continuing medical care, Kalame reported. In April, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said Jooni was in poor health.

Mohammad Pour Abdollah, freelance

Imprisoned: February 13, 2009

In December 2009, a Revolutionary Court convicted Pour Abdollah, a Tehran university student and a blogger, on charges of “illegal congregation, actions against national security, and propagating against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” according to the BBC Persian service website. Pour Abdollah’s original six-year sentence was reduced to three years, the Human Rights Activists News Agency reported in April.

Several news websites said he had been tortured while in custody at Ghezel Hesar Prison, a facility that houses hardened criminals. Since his detention, Pour Abdollah’s blog has been disabled; only his last post can be accessed, on another writer’s blog. In that post, Pour Abdollah writes critically about the political, social, and economic conditions in Iran and elsewhere.

Morteza Moradpour, Yazligh

Imprisoned: May 22, 2009

Moradpour, who wrote for Yazligh, a children’s magazine, is serving a three-year prison term on charges of “propagating against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” “mutiny,” and “illegal congregation,” according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters. An appeals court in Azerbaijan province upheld the sentence, according to the committee’s February 9 report.

Moradpour was arrested in 2009 along with several family members during a protest over Azeri-language rights in Tabriz in northwestern Azerbaijan province, according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters. Two issues of Yazligh were used as evidence in the trial against him, the news website Bizim Tabriz reported.

Moradpour’s attorney said the charges were politically motivated and fabricated, the news website Tabriz Sesi reported. The Committee of Human Rights Reporters said pressure on members of Azeri civil society had increased as the government attempted to marginalize the ethnic minority.

Ahmad Zaid-Abadi, freelance

Imprisoned: June 2009

Zaid-Abadi, who wrote a weekly column for Rooz Online, a Farsi- and English-language reformist news website, was arrested in Tehran, according to news reports. Zaid-Abadi is also the director of the Organization of University Alumni of the Islamic Republic of Iran and a supporter of defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi.

On November 23, 2009, Zaid-Abadi was sentenced to six years in prison, five years’ exile to Gonabad in Khorasan province, and a “lifetime deprivation of any political activity” including “interviews, speech, and analysis of events, whether in written or oral form,” according to Deutsche Welle’s Persian website. An appeals court upheld the sentence on January 2, according to Advar News.

In February 2010, Zaid-Abadi and fellow journalist Massoud Bastani were transferred to Rajaee Shahr Prison, a facility known for housing people convicted of drug-related crimes. Zaid-Abadi’s wife, Mahdieh Mohammadi, said prison conditions are crowded and unsanitary, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported. She said she fears malnutrition and the spread of disease.

Omid Salimi, Nesf-e-Jehan

Imprisoned: June 14, 2009

Salimi, a photographer who worked for Nesf-e-Jehan newspaper in Esfahan, was arrested after being summoned by the Revolutionary Guards to pick up belongings‎ confiscated during an earlier arrest, according to Human Rights and ‎Democracy Activists in Iran, a local human rights watchdog. Salimi had been detained in ‎December 2008 and had spent three months in prison on unspecified charges.

After his 2009 arrest, Salimi was transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran, according to the Iranian Reporters and Human Rights Activists News Agency.‎ No formal charges or trial proceedings have been disclosed.

Kayvan Samimi, Nameh

Imprisoned: June 14, 2009

Samimi, manager of the now-defunct monthly Nameh, was serving a six-year prison sentence, along with a 15-year ban on “political, social, and cultural activities,” the Aftab News website reported.

Initially held at Evin Prison, Samimi was subjected to mistreatment. In February 2010, he was transferred to solitary confinement after objecting to poor prison conditions, according to Free Iranian Journalists, a website devoted to documenting cases of jailed reporters and editors. In July, Samimi and 14 other prisoners went on a 16-day hunger strike to protest abuse at Evin Prison. After they broke their strike, they were not allowed to visit with their families or call them for a month, the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported. In November, Samimi was transferred to Rajaee Shah Prison in Karaj,which houses violent criminals, according news reports.

Samimi’s lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, was herself taken into custody in September 2010, news reports said. Sotoudeh’s arrest was part of a government crackdown on lawyers seeking to defend political prisoners and journalists. Lawyers have been intimidated, temporarily detained, and in some cases audited for tax evasion.

Hamzeh Karami, Jomhoriyat

Imprisoned: June 19, 2009

Karami, editor of the now-defunct reformist news website Jomhoriyat, was arrested on June 19, 2009, according to the website Nedaye Sabz-e-Azadi. Iranian authorities had banned Jomhoriyat just one week before, the Asr-e-Iran news website reported.

He was charged with “acting against national security through congregation and mutiny intended to disrupt public order,” “propagating against the regime,” “propagating falsehoods,” and embezzlement, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency. His original 16-year prison sentence was reduced to 11 years on appeal, the Committee of Human Rights Reporters reported in May 2010. He was also fined the equivalent of US$600,000.

Karami, a close ally of reformist politician Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani, was coerced into confessions implicating himself and others, according to Reporters and Human Rights Activists of Iran.

Despite his conviction, Karami paid a US$2 million bail and was released on furlough in May 14, 2010, according to the Kalame reformist news website. But authorities sent him back to prison after he refused to testify against Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president turned government critic.

In an August 2010 open letter to the prosecutor-general, Karami said he had been tortured in custody, coerced into making false confessions, threatened with rape, told his family members were being subjected to violence, denied access to a lawyer, and forced to witness other inmates being beaten. Kalame reported in September that Karami had been denied medical leave for his heart condition.

Bahman Ahmadi Amouee, freelance

Imprisoned: June 19, 2009

Amouee, a contributor to reformist newspapers such as Mihan, Hamshahri, Jame’e, Khordad, Norooz, and Sharq, and the author of an eponymous blog, was arrested with his wife, Zhila Bani-Yaghoub, according to news reports. Bani-Yaghoub, editor-in-chief of the IranianWomen’s Club, a news website focusing on women’s rights, was released on bail in August 2009, according to the ‎BBC Persian service.

In January 2010, Amouee was sentenced to 34 lashes, along with seven years and four months in prison. In March, an appeals court reduced the sentence to five years in prison, according to Rooz Online.

Amouee was being held in Tehran’s Evin Prison, at least part of the time in solitary confinement, according to news reports. His wife told Rooz Online in February that Amouee was sharing a 115-square-foot (10-square-meter) cell with 40 other prisoners.

In July, Amouee and 14 other prisoners staged a 16-day hunger strike to protest mistreatment at Evin Prison. Prison officials punished them by denying family visits for a month, Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported.

Issa Saharkhiz, freelance

Imprisoned: July 3, 2009

Saharkhiz, a columnist for the reformist news websites Rooz Online and Norooz and a founding member of the Association of Iranian ‎Journalists, was arrested while traveling in northern Iran, the association said in a ‎statement. ‎His lawyer said his client was charged with “participation in riots,” “encouraging others to participate in riots,” and “insulting the supreme leader,” according to Rooz Online.

Saharkhiz was sentenced to three years in prison, a five-year ban on political and journalistic activities, and a one-year ban on foreign travel, the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported in September 2010. In an interview with Radio Zamaaneh, Mehdi Saharkhiz said his father would not appeal the court’s decision. “He said that all sentencing is made under [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei’s direct supervision and the judiciary has nothing to do with it. Therefore, neither the lower court, nor the appeals court is official in any way, and they are only for show.”

Saharkhiz has had a long career in journalism. He worked for 15 years for IRNA, Iran’s official news agency, and ran its New York office for part of that time. He returned to Iran in 1997 to work in Mohammad Khatami’s Ministry of Islamic Guidance, in charge of domestic publications. Journalist Ahmad Bourghani and Saharkhiz came to be known as the architects of a period of relative freedom for the press in Iran. After Saharkhiz was forced to leave the ministry and was banned from government service in a trial, he founded a reformist newspaper, Akhbar-e-Eghtesad, and monthly magazine, Aftab, both of which were eventually banned. He wrote articles directly critical of Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.

During his imprisonment, which began at Evin Prison, Saharkhiz was subjected to constant pressure, including being kept in a prison yard overnight in freezing temperatures without shoes or socks, according to Rooz Online. Saharkhiz waged a hunger strike in March, according to the Norooz newswebsite, which quoted his son as saying that he had lost about 45 pounds (20 kilograms). He was later transferred to a prison in remote Karaj.

In August 2010, Saharkhiz filed a lawsuit in a U.S. court against Nokia Siemens Network concerning the sale of surveillance technology to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The complaint alleged that the technology was used to locate him for arrest in 2009, the U.S. government-funded Radio Farda reported. In a statement, Nokia Siemens said its actions had not led to Saharkhiz’s abuse.

Saharkhiz’s lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, was herself taken into custody in September 2010, according to news reports. Sotoudeh’s arrest was part of a government crackdown on lawyers seeking to defend political prisoners and journalists. Lawyers have been intimidated, temporarily detained, and in some cases audited for tax evasion.

Massoud Bastani, Farhikhtegan and Jomhoriyat

Imprisoned: July 5, 2009

Bastani, a journalist for the reformist newspaper Farhikhtegan and Jomhoriyat, a news website affiliated with the 2009 presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, was arrested when he ‎went to a Tehran court seeking information about his wife, journalist Mahsa Amrabadi, according to local news reports. Amrabadi, arrested ‎with two other journalists in June 2009, was released the next month.

Bastani was among more than 100 opposition figures and journalists who faced a mass, televised judicial proceeding in August 2009 on vague antistate accusations, according to news reports. On October 20, 2009, the news site Norooz reported that a court had sentenced Bastani to six years in prison for “propagating against the regime and congregating and mutinying to create anarchy.”

Bastani had been editor-in-chief of the now-banned Neda-ye Eslahat (Voice of Reform) weekly. Bastani was transferred to the Rajaee Shahr Prison, a facility reserved for hardened criminals, along with fellow journalist Ahmad Zaid-Abadi, according to the reformist daily Etemad. In July, Bastani’s family told reporters that he had suffered an infection in his teeth and jaw that had gone untreated in prison, the Human Rights House of Iran reported.

Saeed Matin-Pour, Yar Pag and Mouj Bidari

Imprisoned: July 12, 2009

A Revolutionary Court in Tehran convicted Matin-Pour of having “relations with foreigners” and “propagating against the regime,” according to local news reports. He was sentenced to an eight-year prison term in June 2008.

Matin-Pour‎ was first arrested in May 2007 and released on bail. He was rearrested in July 2009 amid the government’s massive crackdown on dissidents and the press. The journalist had worked for Yar Pag and Mouj Bidari newspapers in western Azerbaijan province, in addition to writing his own blog, according to local news reports.

Matin-Pour’s wife, Atieh Taheri, told the Human Rights Activists News Agency that the journalist’s health had deteriorated in Evin Prison and that officials had denied him proper medical care. Matin-Pour suffered from heart and respiratory problems, according to news reports.

Mohammad Hossein Sohrabi Rad, Saham News

Imprisoned: September 2009

Sohrabi Rad was arrested on several antistate charges, including “creating public anxiety” “propagating against the regime,” and “insulting authorities,” stemming from his work on a video detailing prisoner abuse at the Kahrizak Detention Center, according to news reports. The detention center was closed in July 2009 after Saham News, an online news outlet,and others documented pervasive abuse of detainees.

Sohrabi Rad was sentenced to four years in prison and 74 lashes, the Human Rights House of Iran reported in June. Evin Prison officials subjected Sohrabi Rad to physical and psychological pressure, placed him in solitary confinement, and repeatedly suspended his visitation privileges, Asr-e-Nou reported. A prison doctor said the journalist was suffering greatly in prison, according to the website of Human Rights and Democracy Activists of Iran.

In July, Sohrabi Rad and 14 other prisoners went on a 16-day hunger strike to protest mistreatment at Evin Prison. Prison officials punished them by denying family visits for a month, Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported.

Mohammad Davari, Saham News

Imprisoned: September 5, 2009

Davari, editor-in-chief of Saham News, a website affiliated with 2009 presidential candidate Mehdi ‎Karroubi, was charged with several antistate counts, including “propagating against the regime,” and “disrupting national security.” The charges stemmed from Davari’s reporting on widespread complaints of abuse and rape of inmates at Kahrizak Detention Center. The detention center was closed in July 2009 after Saham Newsand others documented the pervasive abuse.

In May 2010, Davari was sentenced to five years in prison, according to the website of Reporters and Human Rights Activists of Iran. His family said he was being held at Tehran’s ‎Evin Prison.

Davari was tortured and coerced into making false statements against Karroubi, along with false statements recanting his Kahrizak Detention Center reports, according to an April 6 report by Reporters and Human Rights Activists. When Davari complained about poor prison conditions, officials placed him in solitary confinement and denied him family visits, according to news reports.

In November 2010, CPJ honored Davari with its International Press Freedom Award.

Mehdi Mahmoudian, freelance

Imprisoned: September 16, 2009

Mahmoudian, a political journalist and blogger, was serving a five-year prison term on charges of “mutiny against the regime” for his role in documenting complaints of rape and abuse of detainees at the Kahrizak Detention Center.

The detention center was closed in July 2009 after Mahmoudian and others documented the pervasive abuse. Mahmoudian also worked with journalist Emadeddin Baghi at the Center for the Defense of Prisoners’ Rights. Held at Rajaee Shahr Prison, Mahmoudian was in poor health and suffering from kidney ailments, according to Deutsche Welle.

Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki (Babak Khorramdin), freelance

Imprisoned: December 13, 2009

Ronaghi Maleki, writing under the name Babak Khorramdin, discussed politics in a series of critical blogs that were blocked by the government. He was also a founder of an anti-censorship group known as the Iran Proxy, which was launched in 2003.

In October 2010, a Revolutionary Court sentenced Ronaghi Maleki to 15 years in prison on antistate conspiracy charges, the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported.

Ronaghi Maleki’s family said the journalist was in poor health and had severe kidney problems that were going untreated, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Defense lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah told the campaign that his client had endured nearly a year in solitary confinement.

Kouhyar Goudarzi, Committee of Human Rights Reporters

Imprisoned: December 20, 2009

Goudarzi, a veteran journalist for the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, was charged with several antistate counts based on his reporting. In June 2010, he was sentenced to one year in prison, according to the Human Rights House of Iran.

Shortly after his arrest in December 2009, visitors to the prison said Goudarzi’s head was bandaged, although it was not clear how he had sustained his injuries, according to the reformist online publication Rooz Online. The human rights committee said judicial authorities have sought to link the organization to external political parties.

Goudarzi staged a number of hunger strikes to protest mistreatment in Evin Prison. His mother told the Deutsche Welle Persian website that his health was deteriorating.

Mohammad Nourizad, freelance

Imprisoned: December 20, 2009

Nourizad, a blogger and documentary filmmaker, was arrested after he wrote an open letter to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei urging him to apologize for the government’s post-election conduct, along with an article criticizing the head of Iran’s judiciary, the BBC Persian service reported. Security officers raided Nourizad’s home, seizing his computer and documents, according to the pro-opposition news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz.

On April 24, 2010, Nourizad wrote another open letter to Khamenei from his prison cell at Evin Prison, criticizing him for his conduct and treatment of Iranian citizens, several news websites reported.

A Revolutionary Court sentenced Nourizad to three and a half years in prison and 50 lashes on charges of “propagating against the regime” and “insulting the supreme leader,” the reformist news website Kalame reported April 28. Prison guards assaulted Nourizad in May, his wife told Kalame. Nourizad suffered head injuries that impaired his vision, she said.

Nourizad was briefly freed on a furlough in summer 2010, but was ordered back to prison after he wrote another protest letter to Khamenei, according to the group Free Iranian Journalists.

Nourizad had once written for Kayhan, a newspaper closely associated with conservative elements in the government,but he distanced himself from the publication after the disputed 2009 presidential election. Since then, Kayhan has repeatedly attacked Nourizad and his writing, according to CPJ research.

Mostafa Dehghan, freelance

Imprisoned: January 8, 2010

Dehghan wrote about social issues for several newspapers and the women’s rights website Change for Equality, according to Jonbesh-e-Rah-e- Sabz. He was being held at Evin Prison.

The website Jmin News said Dehghan called his family in mid-January and said he did not know why he had been detained. No charges or trial proceedings were publicly disclosed.

Ali Mohammad Eslampour, Navaye Vaght

Imprisoned: February 2, 2010

Eslampour, an editor for the newspaper Navaye Vaght in Kermanshah province and the author of a blog, was charged with “creating public anxiety” and other antistate charges. No charges or trial proceedings had been disclosed by late year, but Navaye Vaght was supportive of Mir-Hossein Mousavi during his unsuccessful 2009 presidential bid.

Ali Malihi, Etemad, Irandokht, Shahrvand-e-Emruz, and Mehrnameh

Imprisoned: February 9, 2010

Malihi, a contributor to several publications and a council member of the Iranian Students Association, was charged with several antistate counts, including “mutiny against the regime,” and “insulting the president.” Malihi was sentenced to a four-year prison term, which an appeals court upheld on September 27, according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters.

Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz and others published a February petition signed by 250 civil society activists demanding Malihi’s release and stating that he is a nonpartisan journalist. In a March 14 letter to Tehran’s prosecutor, Malihi’s father said the journalist endured severe beatings at Evin Prison, according to Advar News.

Malihicontributed to several reformist and independent publications includingEtemad, Irandokht, Shahrvand-e-Emruz, and Mehrnameh.

Hengameh Shahidi, Etemad-e-Melli

Imprisoned: February 25, 2010

Shahidi was charged with several antistate counts, including “propagating against the regime,” according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

In November 2009, a Revolutionary Court sentenced her to six years and three months in prison. She was released pending appeal. The verdict was upheld on February 24, 2010, and Shahidi was taken into custody the next day, according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters.

Shahidi worked for Mehdi Karroubi’s 2009 presidential campaign and has written about Iranian and international politics, human rights, and specifically women’s rights. She was known as a reformist journalist who had written many articles condemning the practice of stoning. Shahidi spent several days at Evin Prison’s infirmary, according to an April 26 report on Saham News. Shahidi’s lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaee, told Kalame that he has requested a retrial.

A fellow prisoner severely beat Shahidi in May as prison authorities stood by, Kalame reported. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said in September that Shahidi’s mother was concerned about the journalist’s deteriorating health. Shahidi was briefly released on bail so she could see medical care, but she was taken back into custody in mid-November before her treatment was completed, news reports said.

Abolfazl Abedini Nasr, Bahar Ahvaz

Imprisoned: March 3, 2010

Abedini, who frequently wrote about labor issues, was arrested in Ahvaz and transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran, according to the website of Reporters and Human Rights Activists. He was held in solitary confinement and subjected to interrogation without access to a lawyer, according to an open letter from his mother that was published on several news websites. She said he was in poor physical and psychological health.

An Ahvaz court sentenced Abedini to 11 years in prison on antistate charges, including having “contact with enemy states,” the news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported in April. Abedini was not represented by a lawyer at trial. When Abedini appealed, a Khuzestan provincial appellate court would not allow his lawyer to present arguments, Kalame reported. The appeals court upheld the verdict.

In September, Human Rights House in Iran reported that Abedini had been beaten at Ahvaz Prison.

Akbar Azad, Varligh and Parpagh

Imprisoned: May 25, 2010

Azad, a prominent journalist who wrote for Varligh and Parpagh monthly magazines, covered Azeri culture, language, and history, according to Reporters and Human Rights Activists. He was arrested at his home in Tehran and transferred to a Tabriz detention facility. No charges or trial proceedings had been disclosed by late year.

In September, a website devoted to Azad’s plight said he and other Azeri inmates were in dire physical condition. The website said Azad had been beaten, had suffered the loss of numerous teeth, and had been in solitary confinement for several months.

Abdolreza Tajik, freelance

Imprisoned: June 12, 2010

Tajik, a political columnist who focused on human rights, was detained two separate times in the government’s 2009 crackdown on dissidents and journalists. He was arrested a third time in June 2010 after being summoned to the Intelligence Ministry, the BBC Persian service reported. Tajik had contributed to reformist and independent publications includingFath, Bonyan, Bahar, and Shargh.


No charges or trial proceedings had been disclosed by late year. Tajik’s sister, Parvin, told the BBC that the journalist had been abused in custody. In November, she was sentenced to 18 months in prison herself for speaking publicly about his treatment, the BBC Persian service reported.

Siamak Ghaderi, freelance

Imprisoned: July 27, 2010

Ghaderi was arrested in connection with entries he posted on his blog, IRNA-ye maa, or Our IRNA, a reference to the Islamic Republic’s official news agency. In the entries, he wrote about street protests and other developments after the contested 2009 presidential election, according to the reformist news website Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz.

Ghaderi was an editor and reporter for IRNA for 18 years until he was dismissed for writing about the 2009 election on his blog, Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz said. Pro-government news websites, among them Rasekhoon and Haghighat News, called him a “seditionist” who was arrested for “immoral” acts.

He was being held at Evin Prison, where he was under pressure to make a false confession, according to online reports. Ghaderi's blog was repeatedly blocked by authorities before he was detained, Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported. No formal charges had been disclosed by late year.

Navid Mohebbi, freelance

Imprisoned: September 18, 2010

Intelligence agents arrested Mohebbi, an 18-year-old blogger from Amol in northern Iran, at his home and placed him in custody at Sari Prison, the reformist news website Saham News reported. He is the youngest person on CPJ’s 2010 prison census.

Mohebbi wrote about social issues, particularly women's rights, on a personal blog. Among other topics, he covered the case of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a woman convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning. He also wrote in support of the Change for Equality campaign, an effort to reform laws that discriminate against women.

On November 14, Mohebbi appeared in a Sari court to face charges of “acting against national security,” “insulting the supreme leader,” and “propagating against the regime,” local and international media reported. Mohebbi had been questioned by security agents on several occasions beginning in 2008, the Committee of Human Rights Reporters said.

The government blocked access to his blog on at least three occasions prior to May 2010, Mohebbi wrote. Although he moved the blog to a new address, authorities appeared to have imposed a permanent block.

Two journalists working for Bild am Sonntag

Imprisoned: October 10, 2010

Two journalists working for the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag were arrested after interviewing the son of a woman convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning, a case that had drawn worldwide attention. Bild am Sonntag said the journalists, an editor and a photographer, had traveled to Iran to report a story on the woman, Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani. Neither the paper nor the government disclosed the names of the journalists.

The two were initially accused of improperly entering the country on tourist visas. "The two people were not journalists—or they had no proof for it,” state-run Press TV quoted judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei as saying.

In November, authorities announced that the two journalists would be charged with espionage. “The espionage charge for the two German citizens who came to Iran to stage propaganda and spying has been approved,” Malekajdar Sharifi, head of the judiciary in Eastern Azerbaijan province, told the semi-official Fars News Agency. Espionage in Iran carries a possible death sentence.

Bild am Sonntag quoted Editor-in-Chief Walter Mayer as saying that "the Iranian authorities know perfectly well that they are journalists and nothing else."

Mohammad Reza Moghiseh, Bist-saleh ha

Imprisoned: October 24, 2010

Moghiseh, editor-in-chief of the magazine Bist-saleh ha and regular contributor to reformist news sites, was being held at Evin Prison, the BBC Persian service reported. Security forces raided his office and home at the time of his arrest, the reformist news website Kalame reported.

Moghiseh had been arrested in October 2009 and sentenced to six years in prison on undisclosed charges, the BBC Persian service reported. As they did with some other detainees, authorities freed Moghiseh on bail; he posted US$500,000 bail in March 2010. The reason for his rearrest was unclear.

A board member of the now-defunct Association of Iranian Journalists, Moghiseh was among a number of journalists and opposition politicians who investigated prison abuses in the aftermath of the contested 2009 presidential election. Moghiseh was a supporter of presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

Nazanin Khosravani, freelance

Imprisoned: November 3, 2010

Khosravani was a political columnist for several now-banned reformist newspapers, including Bahar, Doran-e Emrooz, Kargozaran, and Sarmayeh. Security officers searched her home, confiscated her audio recorder, computer, and other personal items, according to the BBC Persian service. The reformist news website Kalame said four security agents searched Khosrovani's home and threatened her family members.

Khosrovani called her family once and said she was in solitary confinement, Kalame reported. Authorities blocked family visits and ignored inquiries about her legal status and well-being. Khosrovani suffered from a heart condition for which she is under treatment. No formal charges had been disclosed by late year.

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Iraq: 1

Saad al-Aossi, Al-Shahid

Imprisoned: April 14, 2010

Al-Aossi, editor-in-chief of the critical weekly Al-Shahid, was taken from his home in Baghdad by a “mixed force of police officers and soldiers,” his brother told local reporters. Local press freedom advocates and journalists said al-Aossi was being held at a facility administered by the Counter-Terrorism Force, a unit responsible for high-level security cases that reports directly to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Al-Aossi was detained six days after publishing an opinion piece that said al-Maliki was secretive in filling high-level government positions. The government would not disclose any information about al-Aossi, including his whereabouts and legal status. Al-Maliki did not respond to CPJ’s inquiries.

Al-Aossi had been targeted earlier in the year. In February, police searched his newspaper’s office and confiscated equipment, according to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, a local press freedom group. The raid effectively closed Al-Shahid in the two weeks before the March parliamentary elections.

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Kazakhstan: 1

Ramazan Yesergepov, Alma-Ata Info

Imprisoned: January 7, 2009

In January 2009, two months after Yesergepov published two internal memos from the KNB, the Kazakh security service, the agency arrested the ailing editor at an Almaty hospital and transported him to a detention facility in the southern city of Taraz.

The KNB memos, published in Yesergepov’s newspaper Alma-Ata Info, showed high-ranking agents conspiring to influence a prosecutor and a judge in a tax-evasion case; Yesergepov also wrote a commentary on the contents of the memo.

The KNB declared the memos classified and charged Yesergepov with “collecting state secrets.” Authorities tried him behind closed doors, denied him a defense lawyer of his choosing, and barred access to his own case file.

In August 2009, a Taraz City Court judge sentenced Yesergepov to three years in prison. Raushan Yesergepova, the journalist’s wife, told CPJ that the state-appointed defense lawyer did not attend Yesergepov’s final hearing. Subsequent appeals—which Yesergepov prepared himself—were denied, as were appeals for early release and transfer to a lower-security facility.

During a June fact-finding mission to Almaty, CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova tried to visit Yesergepov in prison. Initially, Kazakh authorities approved the visit, but officials with the local penitentiary service revoked the approval the day Ognianova traveled to the prison colony in Taraz.

A CPJ delegation advocated on behalf of Yesergepov in an October meeting with Kazakh Ambassador Kairat Abdrakhmanov, chairman of the permanent council of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe. In the meeting, at OSCE headquarters in Vienna, Ognianova and CPJ Senior Adviser Jean-Paul Marthoz detailed the violations of Yesergepov’s rights to a fair trial and sought his release.

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Kuwait: 1

Mohammed Abdulqader al-Jassem, freelance

Imprisoned: November 22, 2010

A criminal court in Kuwait City sentenced al-Jassem to one year in prison on defamation charges stemming from an article published on his blog, Al-Mizan, which criticized Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah for allowing Iran to exert undue influence on Kuwait.

Al-Jassem continued to face 17 other charges in late year, including defamation, insulting the emir, and “instigating the overthrow of the regime,” his lawyer, Abdullah al-Ahmad, told CPJ.

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Kyrgyzstan: 2

Ulugbek Abdusalomov, Diydor

Imprisoned: June 14, 2010

Authorities in the southern Jalal-Abad region arrested Abdusalomov, editor of the independent weekly Diydor, following interethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan. According to CPJ sources and press reports, men in camouflage-style uniforms, driving a black SUV without license plates, blocked Abdusalomov’s car on a Jalal-Abad street. Subsequent press reports said he was being held by Jalal-Abad regional police.

On June 23, the press office of the central Kyrgyz government said in a statement that Abdusalomov was being held in connection with May 12-15 protests by ethnic Uzbeks in the city of Jalal-Abad. Uzbek residents rallied against the possible return to office of ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Overthrown in April following mass protests, Bakiyev had found temporary refuge in Jalal-Abad before ultimately fleeing to Belarus, according to local press reports. The May rallies sparked a violent retaliation by ethnic Kyrgyz residents, who largely supported Bakiyev.

In August, regional prosecutors indicted Abdusalomov on charges of organizing and participating in mass disorder and making calls for separatism in connection with the protests. A charge of inciting ethnic hatred stemmed from an article published in Diydor that quoted local residents complaining about inequities in southern Kyrgyzstan. The indictment came as the editor was in police custody at a regional hospital undergoing treatment for a heart condition, the independent regional news website Ferghana reported.

Official records cast doubt on the allegations. At the time of the protests, Abdusalomov was in Bishkek working on the text of the new Kyrgyz Constitution as a member of a government committee, official transcripts show. In September, CPJ urged President Roza Otunbayeva to intervene in the politicized prosecution.

The London-based Writers in Prison Committee said that while Abdusalomov was hospitalized in September he suffered a stroke that affected one side of his body and his speech. He was put under house arrest late that month. Trial proceedings, originally scheduled for September, were postponed because of Abdusalomov’s health problems, local press reports said. Defense lawyer Bektursun Kalmanov told CPJ that Abdusalomov remained under house arrest in late year.

Azimjon Askarov, freelance

Imprisoned: June 15, 2010

Authorities in the southern Jalal-Abad region arrested Askarov, a contributor to the independent news website Voice of Freedom and director of the local human rights group Vozdukh (Air), after a violent confrontation between police and villagers in Bazar-Korgon. One police officer was killed in the conflict.

The episode took place amid deadly ethnic clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbek residents, which engulfed all of southern Kyrgyzstan in June. The clashes left hundreds dead, and forced up to a half million people to flee their homes. According to press reports and CPJ sources, Askarov was reporting on violence, destruction, looting, and human rights abuses in Bazar-Korgon at the time.

Authorities initially charged Askarov, 60, with organizing violent riots, but two months later expanded his indictment to include complicity to murder of a police officer, possession of ammunition and extremist literature, and attempted kidnapping, the independent regional news website Ferghana reported. Askarov denied the charges, and said he had not been present at the scene.

Before his arrest, Askarov had reported allegations that regional police had abused detainees and had failed to take appropriate action in response to the ethnic clashes, according to press reports and CPJ sources.

Askarov, held by the same department whose officer was killed in Bazar-Korgon, was beaten by police while in custody, defense lawyer Nurbek Toktakunov told CPJ. Toktakunov said he was himself attacked by relatives of the deceased officer.

On September 15, Judge Nurgazy Alimbayev pronounced Askarov guilty on all charges and sentenced him to life in prison. Toktakunov said the prosecution had failed to produce any evidence or eyewitness testimony at trial that implicated Askarov.

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Moldova (held by Transdniester authorities): 1

Ernest Vardanian, Puls, Novy Region

Imprisoned: April 7, 2010

Authorities with the unrecognized separatist Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) held Vardanian incommunicado since his arrest on charges of espionage and treason. The PMR is commonly known as Transdniester.

Vardanian is a staff reporter for the Chisinau-based newspaper Puls and a freelance contributor to the Russian Internet news agency Novy Region. He also contributed reporting to Europa Libera—the Moldova and Romania service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

A group of armed agents from PMR’s Ministry of State Security (MGB) arrested Vardanian at his home in Tiraspol and placed him in an agency detention facility, according to press reports and CPJ interviews. MGB agents searched the journalist’s home, confiscating computers, audio- and video-recording equipment, reporter’s notebooks, and the family’s bank and credit cards. The MGB denied Vardanian access to a lawyer after his arrest, according to press reports.

Puls Editor-in-Chief Dmitry Kavruk told Deutsche Welle in April that the MGB in Tiraspol had been pressuring Vardanian to stop working for Chisinau media outlets. While living in Tiraspol, Vardanian had commuted daily to the Moldovan capital of Chisinau for work.

In May, PMR authorities released to regional television a video showing Vardanian pleading guilty to charges of spying for Moldovan authorities; he was also shown to say he was being treated well in custody. Immediately after the video was released, Vardanian’s wife and colleagues sounded an alarm, telling reporters that Vardanian appeared to be acting unnaturally and under duress. Authorities disclosed no evidence in support of the charges.

The Transdniester region broke away from Moldova proper in 1990, declaring independence unilaterally. The self-proclaimed PMR is not recognized by the international community.

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Russia: 1

Boris Stomakhin, Radikalnaya Politika

Imprisoned: March 22, 2006

Stomakhin, editor of the small-circulation monthly newspaper Radikalnaya Politika (Radical Politics), was imprisoned on charges of inciting ethnic hatred and making public calls to extremist activity. The Butyrsky District Court of Moscow sentenced him to five years behind bars in November 2006. The journalist, his family, and his defense team said his imprisonment was in retaliation for his sharp criticism of the Kremlin’s policies in the southern republic of Chechnya.

In her ruling, Judge Lyubov Ishmuratova said Stomakhin’s articles “approved Chechen terrorists’ criminal actions aimed at the annihilation of the Russian people as an ethnic group.” The ruling quoted him as writing: “Let tens of new Chechen snipers take their positions in the mountain ridges and the city ruins and let hundreds, thousands of aggressors fall under righteous bullets! No mercy! Death to the Russian occupiers! ... The Chechens have the full moral right to bomb everything they want in Russia.”

Stomakhin, who had pleaded not guilty, said he was “tried for his views and not for any real crime. ... In the articles, I expressed my opinion, with which people were free to agree or disagree,” the news agency RIA-Novosti reported. He said an opinion was not a “call to action.”

Police arrested Stomakhin in March 2006, a day after he fell from the window of his fourth-floor Moscow apartment while trying to elude police, according to local press reports. He broke both his legs and suffered a back injury. After his conviction, Stomakhin was placed in a prison colony in the village of Burepolom, Nizhny Novgorod region.

In February 2008, the Tonshaevsky Regional Court denied an appeal for Stomakhin’s early release, the Moscow-based For Human Rights group told Kavkazsky Uzel. Representatives of the group met with him briefly and told the press they were concerned about the journalist’s health; the fall from the window in 2006 had left him with a permanent limp and spinal cord damage.

Two other appeals for early release, made in 2009, were also denied. In 2010, a website dedicated to Stomakhin’s defense described harsh conditions, including insufficient heating, in the Burepolom prison colony.

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Saudi Arabia: 1

Raafat al-Ghanim, freelance

Imprisoned: July 29, 2009

Security agents arrested al-Ghanim, 26, a Syrian blogger living in Saudi Arabia who wrote critically about social and political issues in both countries, according to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. He was held incommunicado for 50 days before being transferred to Al-Hair Prison, according to a website advocating for his release. No formal charges had been disclosed by late year.

Before his arrest, al-Ghanim had signed a petition calling for the release of two activists arrested after announcing their intention to attend a protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, according to the human rights network. In March 2010, a group of Syrian human rights organizations issued a statement calling for his release. The government has refused to disclose details about his legal status.

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Sudan: 3

Ashraf Abdelaziz, Rai al-Shaab
Tahir Abu Jawhara, Rai al-Shaab
Abu Zar Ali al-Amin, Rai al-Shaab

Imprisoned: May 16, 2010

Deputy Editor Al-Amin and reporters Abu Jawhara and Abdelaziz were arrested when Sudanese security forces raided Rai al-Shaab’s offices in Khartoum, confiscating documents and equipment, according to news reports. Authorities closed the newspaper, which was owned by the opposition Popular Congress Party.

The editor-in-chief, Yassin Omar al-Imam, told CPJ that the raid came shortly after the daily published an article claiming that Iran had constructed a weapons factory in Sudan intended to supply Islamist insurgents in Africa and the Middle East. The report has not been independently corroborated.

In July, a criminal court in Khartoum sentenced al-Amin to five years in prison, and Abdelaziz and Abu Jawhara to two years apiece, according to their lawyer, Abdelomneim Osman Idriss. He said the journalists had been convicted of “undermining the constitutional system” and “publishing false information.” The three were being held in Kober Prison in Khartoum, a facility notorious for abusive treatment of inmates.

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Syria: 2

Ali al-Abdallah, freelance

Imprisoned: December 17, 2007

Al-Abdallah, a freelance journalist who regularly contributed to prominent Arabic-language newspapers outside Syria, was arrested in 2007 in connection with his political activism. A leader of the Damascus Declaration, a reform movement calling for democratic change in Syria, al-Abdallah was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

On June 17, 2010,his scheduled release date, a military prosecutor told al-Abdallah he would face new charges related to his prison writings, his son, Mohammad al-Abdallah, told CPJ. In September, a military judge charged al-Abdallah with harming relations with a foreign country, according to local human rights groups.

The charges stemmed from a piece al-Abdallah wrote and smuggled out of prison in August 2009, according to news reports. The article criticized Wilayat al-Faqih, a religious form of government advocated by Iranian Shiite leaders. The Syrian government is sensitive to critical writing about Iran, a close regional ally.

Tal al-Mallohi, freelance

Imprisoned: December 27, 2009

Al-Mallohi, a journalistic blogger, was detained in December after being summoned by security officials, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Two days later, security agents searched her house and confiscated her computer, Reuters reported.

The private newspaper Al-Watan, citing an unnamed security source, said in October 2010 that al-Mallohi was suspected of spying for the United States. But no formal charges had been publicly disclosed by late year.

Al-Mallohi’s blog was devoted to Palestinian rights and was critical of Israeli policies. It also discussed the frustrations of Arab citizens with their governments and what she perceived to be the stagnation of the Arab world. The last posted entry was dated September 2009; it was not clear whether any subsequent posts could have been deleted.

The National Organization for Human Rights in Syria reported that al-Mallohi was arraigned before a state security court in Damascus on November 10. She was being held in solitary confinement in a Duma prison. Al-Mallohi’s case has gained widespread attention in the Arab blogosphere, on social networks, and among international human rights activists.

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Tunisia: 1

Fahem Boukadous, Al-Hiwar al-Tunisi

Imprisoned: July 12, 2010

Boukadous was arrested after an appeals court in Tunisia upheld a criminal conviction and prison sentence handed down in connection with his coverage of 2008 labor protests in the Gafsa mining region.

A correspondent for the Italy-based satellite television broadcaster Al-Hiwar al-Tunisi, Boukadous had been sentenced to a four-year prison term on charges of “belonging to a criminal association” and spreading materials “likely to harm public order.”

Boukadous was taken into custody a day after he left a hospital in the city of Sousse, where he was being treated for acute asthma. Colleagues and family said they were very concerned about Boukadous’ health. In October, Boukadous waged a hunger strike to protest his detention at Gafsa Prison.

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Turkey: 4

Vedat Kurşun, Azadiya Welat

Imprisoned: January 30, 2009

Kurşun, former editor-in-chief of the Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat, was arrested at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, according to Bia, a Turkish press freedom group. He was charged under the country’s Anti-Terror Law with spreading the propaganda of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, in the paper’s coverage during 2007 and 2008.

On May 13, Kurşun was sentenced to 166 years and six months in prison on 103 counts of spreading “propaganda on behalf of the terrorist organization” and “committing crimes on behalf of the organization,” according to Dogan News Agency. The Journalists Association of Turkey announced in July that it had awarded a 2010 Press Freedom Award to Kurşun.

Azadiya Welat is the only Kurdish-language daily in Turkey.

Bedri Adanir, Hawar and Aram

Imprisoned: January 5, 2010

Adanir, owner of the pro-Kurdish publishing house Aram and editor-in-chief of the daily Hawar, was sentenced to one year and three months in jail in April 2009, the state Anatolian Agency reported. Adanir was charged under the country’s Anti-Terror Law with spreading the propaganda of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

The charges stem from a book published by Aram and written by PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, titled Kültür-Sanat Devrimi Üzerine (On the Revolution of Culture and Art), according to Bia, a Turkish press freedom group. Adanir was detained in the southeastern city of Sirnak as he was returning from Iraqi Kurdistan.

The charges, which could bring 50 years in jail, were pending in late year. He was being held in Diyarbakir Prison.

Gurbet Cakar, Rengê Hevîya Jinê

Imprisoned: March, 2010

Cakar, editor-in-chief of the Kurdish women’s magazine Rengê Hevîya Jinê (The Color of Women’s Hope), was charged under the country’s Anti-Terror Law with spreading the propaganda of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

Prosecutors sought a 20-year prison term on the charges, which were pending in late year. She was being held in Diyarbakir Prison.

Ozan Kilinc, Azadiya Welat

Imprisoned: July 22, 2010

Kilinc, former editor-in-chief of the Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat, was charged under the country’s Anti-Terror Law with spreading the propaganda of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

A Criminal Court in Diyarbakir sentenced the journalist to 21 years in prison, the BBC reported. Yuksekova Haber, a local news website, said Kilinc was being held at Diyarbakir Prison.

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Uzbekistan: 6

Muhammad Bekjanov, Erk
Yusuf Ruzimuradov, Erk

Imprisoned: March 15, 1999

Arrested and imprisoned in 1999, Bekjanov, editor of the opposition newspaper Erk, and Ruzimuradov, reporter for the paper, continued to serve lengthy prison terms in Uzbekistan. A court in the capital, Tashkent, handed Bekjanov a 14-year jail term, while Ruzimuradov was given a 15-year sentence on charges of publishing and distributing a banned newspaper that criticized President Islam Karimov. The two journalists were also convicted of participating in a banned political protest, and attempting to overthrow the regime.

According to CPJ sources and news reports, both men were tortured before their trial started. After the verdict was announced in November 1999, both were jailed in strict-security penal colonies for individuals sentenced for committing serious crimes. Bekjanov was imprisoned in the city of Navoi, and Ruzimuradov in a village near the city of Karshi. Immediately after the journalists’ arrest, their families fled to the United States, Erk Party Secretary-General Aranazar Arifov told CPJ at the time.

In a 2003 interview he gave from a prison hospital where he was treated for tuberculosis he contracted in prison, Bekjanov described being beaten and tortured in prison. According to The Associated Press and the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), Bekjanov suffered a broken leg and hearing loss as a result.

After visiting her husband in prison in 2006, Nina Bekjanova told the independent news website Uznewsthe journalist had been subjected to beatings that caused him to lose most of his teeth. In 2007, Bekjanov was transferred to prison in the southwestern city of Kasan, according to the independent news website Uznews.

Exiled Uzbek journalists, local human rights workers, and other CPJ sources in the region said they had unsuccessfully tried to obtain any updated information about the whereabouts and well-being of Ruzimuradov. Uzbekistan’s Embassy in Washington did not respond to CPJ’s written request in November seeking information on the health, legal status, and whereabouts of the two journalists.

Gayrat Mehliboyev, freelance

Imprisoned: July 24, 2002

A contributor to the state-owned weekly Hurriyat, Mehliboyev was arrested while covering a rally in Tashkent in support of the banned Islamist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation).

After he spent six months in detention, a Tashkent court convicted Mehliboyev of anti-constitutional activities, participating in extremist religious organizations, and inciting religious hatred, and sentenced him to seven years in prison. To support the charges, prosecutors presented the court with political commentary the journalist had written in the spring 2001 edition of Hurriyat. In the commentary, Mehliboyev argued that Uzbek authorities should give preference to religious rule over Western-style democracy. Prosecutors insisted his arguments contained ideas of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Although Mehliboyev said repeatedly during the trial that he had been beaten in prison, the court ignored his statements, a Tashkent-based representative of Human Rights Watch told CPJ at the time.

On February 18, 2003, a district court in Tashkent sentenced Mehliboyev to seven years in prison on charges of anticonstitutional activities, participating in extremist religious organizations, and inciting religious hatred, according to local and international news reports. An appeals court later cut his term by six months.

While in custody, Mehliboyev was sentenced to yet another prison term. In September 2006, the Tashkent regional court sentenced him to six additional years on extremism charges, the independent news website Uznews reported. Prison authorities claimed the journalist advocated Hizb ut-Tahrir ideas to other inmates and kept religious writings in his cell. Mehliboyev denied the accusations; he said he had kept only private notes in which he criticized the conditions of his imprisonment and described torture he said he was subjected to.

According to the Tashkent-based human rights group Ezgulik, Mehliboyev is serving his term in a penal colony in the central city of Zarafshan.

Dzhamshid Karimov, freelance

Imprisoned: September 12, 2006

Authorities in the central Jizzakh region forced Karimov, a freelance journalist and nephew of President Islam Karimov, into a psychiatric facility in the city of Samarkand. The Uzbek government refused to provide access to Karimov or release information that would allow independent experts to verify the reasons for his involuntary confinement, according to international rights groups. CPJ research shows authorities did not disclose a court order or medical diagnosis that had led to the journalist’s forced hospitalization.

Karimov contributed to the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting and a number of independent newspapers and regional online publications. He often criticized the social and economic policies of local and national authorities.

Before the detention, regional authorities had followed Karimov and closely monitored his journalism, according to local news reports. A month before his arrest, police confiscated his passport after he submitted the document seeking an exit visa to attend a journalism seminar in neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov, Uznews

Imprisoned: June 7, 2008

Abdurakhmanov, 60, was being held at a penal colony outside the southern city of Karshi, where he was transferred in October 2008 after a politicized prosecution on trumped-up charges of drug possession.

Based in the western city of Nukus, in Uzbekistan’s Karakalpakstan Autonomous Republic, Abdurakhmanov covered human rights, social and economic issues for the independent news website Uznews. Among the topics he covered was corruption in local law enforcement agencies, including traffic police. He had contributed to the U.S. government-funded broadcasters Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America, along with the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting, before the government imposed restrictions on independent reporting after the Andijan massacre of 2005.

Abdurakhmanov was detained on charges of drug possession with intent to use after regional traffic officers stopped his car for a check and claimed they had found four ounces (114 grams) of marijuana and less than a quarter ounce (about five grams) of opium in his trunk, Uznews reported. The journalist denied possessing the drugs and said police had planted them.

The journalist’s prosecution was marred with procedural violations, CPJ research shows. Investigators interrogated Abdurakhmanov about his journalism and the publications to which he contributed—not about the origins of narcotics they had allegedly found. They also searched his home and confiscated his personal computer, sources told CPJ. After the journalist’s initial blood tests revealed no traces of narcotics, authorities refused to free him and instead changed the charge to drug possession with intent to distribute, Uznews reported.

Authorities failed to establish a proper chain of custody for the seized drugs and prosecutors failed to present fingerprints collected from the seized narcotics containers, Abdurakhmanov’s lawyer, Rustam Tulyaganov, told CPJ. But a court in Nukus convicted Abdurakhmanov in October 2008, and sentenced him to 10 years in prison a month later. Appeals in the case were denied.

Dilmurod Saiid, freelance

Imprisoned: February 22, 2009

Regional authorities arrested Saiid in Tashkent and placed him in detention in the city of Samarkand after a local woman told prosecutors that the journalist had ordered her to extort US$10,000 from a local businessman, according to press reports and CPJ sources. Although the woman later withdrew her accusation, saying she was forced to make it, authorities did not release Saiid.

In March 2009, prosecutors announced that new witnesses had come forward to accuse Saiid of extortion, the independent news website Ferghana reported. Prosecutors also added a forgery charge based on purported statements from local farmers who alleged that Saiid had used their signatures to create fraudulent court papers. According to Ferghana, the farmers announced at Saiid’s trial that prosecutors had forced them to testify against the journalist.

Authorities failed to notify Saiid’s lawyer, Ruhiddin Komilov, of court hearing dates, Komilov told CPJ. In July 2009, a Tailak District Court judge sentenced the journalist in a closed proceeding without his defense lawyer, family, or the press in attendance. According to press reports and CPJ sources, Saiid was convicted on all charges, handed a 12-and-a-half-year prison term, and transferred to a strict-security penal colony outside the city of Navoi in central Uzbekistan. The prison is known for holding many political prisoners.

Before his imprisonment, Saiid had reported on official abuses against farmers for the independent regional news website Voice of Freedom as well as for a number of local newspapers. A member of the Tashkent-based human rights group Ezgulik, Saiid had also helped local farmers defend their rights in regional courts, local sources told CPJ.

In November 2009, the journalist’s wife and 6-year-old daughter were killed in a car accident while on their way to visit him in prison, Ferghana reported. Ezgulik appealed for Saiid’s release on humanitarian grounds, but the appeal was denied. In August, Uzbekistan’s Supreme Court denied Saiid’s appeal.

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Vietnam: 5

Nguyen Van Hai (Nguyen Hoang Hai), freelance

Imprisoned: April 19, 2008

Hai was arrested and held without charge for five months, according to news reports. A closed court convicted him of tax evasion on September 10, 2008.

Hai, who also goes by the name Nguyen Hoang Hai, was an outspoken commentator on his political blog Dieu Cay (The Peasant’s Pipe). He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for failing to pay 10 years of taxes on the part of a building he had rented to an optical shop. International news reports quoted his lawyer as saying the taxes should have been paid by the tenant, according to the rental agreement.

Several of Hai’s blog entries had touched on politically sensitive issues. He had reported on national protests against China, which disputes Vietnam’s claim to sovereignty over the nearby Spratly and Paracel islands. He also called for demonstrations against the Beijing Olympic torch relay, which was to pass through Ho Chi Minh City, according to the website of Viet Tan, an exiled pro-democracy organization.

In April 2009, Hai was transferred to the southern Cai Tau Prison, several hours from his home in Ho Chi Minh City, and was denied family visits, according to Viet Tan and international human rights groups. He was scheduled for release after serving his sentence on October 20, 2010, but authorities continued to detain him for undisclosed reasons.

Pham Thanh Nghien, freelance

Imprisoned: September 2008

A Haiphong city court sentenced online writer Pham Thanh Nghien in January 2010 to four years in prison and three years of house arrest on charges of spreading antistate material.

She was first arrested in September 2008 during a government crackdown on dissidents and was originally charged with staging a protest against the government’s policy in a maritime dispute involving China.

In its ruling, the court singled out an online article written for foreign media in which Nghien criticized public officials for siphoning off compensation funds intended for survivors of fishermen killed by Chinese maritime patrols in 2007, according to international news reports.

Nghien was also accused of criticizing the government in interviews with foreign media outlets. Her half-day trial was closed to foreign media and diplomats, news reports said. She was being held at Thanh Liet Detention Center in Hanoi.

Pham Minh Hoang (Phan Kien Quoc), freelance

Imprisoned: August 13, 2010

Pham Minh Hoang, a university mathematics professor and political blogger associated with the exiled Viet Tan pro-democracy party, was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City.

At a September press conference, authorities announced that Hoang had been charged under Article 79 of the penal code for activities aimed at overthrowing the government. Subversion charges carry a potential death penalty in Vietnam.

The charges refer to 29 blog posts written under the pen name Phan Kien Quoc, according to Viet Tan. The entries focused on corruption, environmental degradation, and perceived government failures to protect the country’s territorial sovereignty from Chinese intervention, according to Viet Tan.

Hoang, a French national of Vietnamese origin, was detained at the Ministry of Public Security’s Detainment Center in Saigon District 1. He awaited trial in late year.

Phan Thanh Hai (Anh Ba Saigon), freelance

Imprisoned: October 18, 2010

Phan Thanh Hai, a political blogger who wrote under the penname Anh Ba Saigon, was taken into custody on a provisional four-month detention while authorities conducted further investigation.

Police raided his Ho Chi Minh City home, seizing computers, documents, and articles downloaded from the Internet, Agence France-Presse reported. According to his wife, Nguyen Thi Lien, police said they had evidence that he had written and published “false information” on his blog.

Hai’s blog often touched on issues considered sensitive by the Vietnamese authorities, including a scandal at state-run shipbuilder Vinashin, maritime and territorial disputes with China, and a controversial Chinese-supported bauxite mining project in the country’s Central Highlands.

He was being held at Ho Chi Minh City’s Phan Dang Luu Detention Center.

Le Nguyen Huong Tra (Do Long Girl), freelance

Imprisoned: October 23, 2010

Le Nguyen Huong Tra, a blogger who wrote under the penname Do Long Girl, was taken into custody at her Ho Chi Minh City home. Her blog, which mixed humor and political analysis, had developed a significant following.

Tra’s arrest stemmed from blog entries critical of Deputy Public Security Minister Nguyen Khanh Toan, whom she alleged had done favors for women who had had romantic relations with his son, according to news reports. The nature of those favors was not specified, and authorities would not discuss specifics of the case.

She faced criminal defamation charges that carried a maximum seven-year prison sentence. Charges were pending in late year.

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Yemen: 1

Abdulelah Hider Shaea, freelance

Imprisoned: August 16, 2010

Shaea, a frequent commentator on Al-Jazeera, was known for his coverage and analysis of extremist groups, including Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He was detained after armed security forces raided his home in Sana’a, confiscating his computer and notes, his brother told Al-Masdar, an independent weekly.

Shaea’s coverage was critical of government policies in fighting terrorist threats in Yemen. In July, security agents interrogated Shaea for several hours about his reporting. “The interrogators told me to stop talking to media about the government’s campaign against Al-Qaeda. They told me it was for my own good. When I told them that I wouldn’t be dissuaded from doing my job, they reminded me that they could disappear me at any time of their choosing,” Shaea told CPJ at the time.

Arrested in August, Shaea was held incommunicado for 29 days before authorities presented him before a judge. He was accused of “planning to carry out terrorist acts,” “providing media support to Al-Qaeda leadership,” and “belonging to a terrorist organization.” During the first two months in custody, he was allowed to see his lawyer only twice, according to the local human rights group Hood. Reporters and lawyers who attended Shaea’s first hearing in September said extensive bruising on his body indicated he had been subjected to abusive treatment in custody.

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