An appellate court sentenced Shamsolvaezin, editor of the daily Asr-e-Azadegan, to 30 months in prison for allegedly insulting Islamic principles in a 1999 article that criticized capital punishment in Iran. Shamsolvaezin was taken to Tehran’s Evin Prison shortly after the verdict.
The article was published in the now-defunct daily Neshat, which Shamsolvaezin edited until judicial authorities closed the paper in September 1999. On November 27, 1999, a Tehran court sentenced Shamsolvaezin to three years in prison. The appeals court reduced the sentence to 30 months after acquitting him of allegedly forging the article, which was written by a London-based activist, Hossein Baqerzadeh.
On November 23, 2000, CPJ honored Shamsolvaezin with an International Press Freedom Award.