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.