Baghi, a contributor to the banned daily Neshat who was on the editorial board of another outlawed daily, Fath, was detained during a closed-door trial. On July 17, 2001, Tehran’s Press Court sentenced him to five-and-a-half years in prison.
According to the state news agency IRNA, Baghi was charged with publishing articles that “questioned the validity of … Islamic law,” “threatening national security,” and “spreading unsubstantiated news stories” about the role of “agents of the Intelligence Ministry in the serial murder of intellectuals and dissidents in 1998.”
The charges were based on complaints from a number of government agencies, including the Intelligence Ministry, the conservative-controlled Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, and former security officials.
The charges also mentioned a 1999 piece Baghi had published in Neshat responding to another article criticizing the death penalty that had itself landed Neshat editor Mashallah Shamsolvaezin in jail. The closed-door trial began on May 1, 2000. In late October 2001, an appeals court reduced the sentence to three years. Baghi remains in Tehran’s Evin Prison.