Iran adds a year to award-winning journalist’s prison term

New York, July 26, 2011– Recent news reports that Iranian authorities have added a year to the politicized five-year sentence currently being served by journalist Mohammad Davari is the latest example of vindictive government policies against critical journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

“Davari has signed open letters and statements for political prisoners in the past year and is now paying the price,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. “Pinning an extra year of imprisonment on him for a case that has been dormant for five years is simply the latest example of a retaliatory policy.”

Davari, the editor-in-chief of the reformist news website Saham News as well as a trade unionist and teacher, was sentenced to an additional year in prison for his participation in teacher protests in 2006, according to the reformist news website Kaleme.  He was arrested in 2009 after exposing horrific abuse at an Iranian prison and sentenced to five years in prison on anti-state charges.  He has been tortured and severely pressured to make televised confessions implicating leaders within the reformist movement. In November 2010, CPJ honored Davari with its International Press Freedom Award.