Razavi Faghih, a journalist for several reformist publications, was arrested on March 6, 2014, to begin serving a one-year prison term he was given in 2009. He had been convicted in absentia of “propagating against the regime” for unspecified “security crimes,” according to news reports citing the Iranian judiciary. Iranian authorities never disclosed the basis of the charges.
Razavi Faghih wrote for several reformist publications, including Sobh-e Emrooz, Bahar, Doran-e Emrooz, and Vaghaye Etefaghieh, and the English-language news website Rooz Online. He lived in Paris, but frequently traveled to Iran. He was arrested at Tehran’s Khomeini International Airport in March 2014.
The week before his 2014 arrest, he made a speech to a gathering of reformists in the city of Hamedan in which he criticized “the Guardian Council, Assembly of Experts, the Parliament and some state leaders,” according to the official IRNA news agency, Radio Farda and VOA Persian.
In March 2015, after his one-year term was completed, Iranian authorities refused to release the journalist, telling his brother that he was facing new, unspecified charges, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
In September 2015, while Razavi Faghih was still held in Rajaee Shahr Prison, he was sentenced to an additional three and a half years in prison. Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court convicted him of “insulting the Supreme Leader” and “propagating against the state” in connection with his February 2014 speech.
The journalist was transferred to Imam Khomeini hospital for heart surgery in February 2015 but was taken back to prison a few days later, according to ICHRI. In September 2015, he began refusing to take any food or liquids in protest of not receiving adequate medical attention for his heart condition. Two days later, prison authorities took him to the hospital and he ended his strike, according to reports.
In September 2015, ICHRI reported that Razavi Faghih’s family was not able to visit for months and that his brother was told that the journalist had been barred from having visitors.
Razavi Faghih was not included in CPJ’s 2014 prison census because he was out on furlough on December 1, 2014.