Free Hossein Ronaghi Maleki


 
 
Iran: Blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki Must Not be Returned to Prison

Hossein Ronaghi

Blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was ordered to return to prison immediately on June 29, 2015. He was released from prison on medical grounds on June 17, 2015, after having been held since February 28, 2015. The Iranian authorities first accused him of attempting to flee the country while on an earlier period of temporary leave from prison, claims which his father says are false. Maleki has not returned to prison, as his health remains precarious. Arrested in December 2009, Maleki was sentenced to fifteen years in prison in October 2010 after being convicted of vaguely-worded national security charges in connection with his peaceful blogging. Maleki suffers from kidney disease and associated illnesses and was transferred to hospital several times during his imprisonment. His father, Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, was sentenced to four months in prison in July 2015 for "publishing lies in cyber space" in connection with his advocacy for his son. PEN Center USA joins PEN International in calling for Hossein Ronaghi Maleki to not be returned to prison, and for both Maleki and his father's conviction and sentence to be quashed.


Please SHARE this story on social media using the hashtag #HosseinRonaghi, in an effort to increase public awareness:
 

Please SIGN the petition at the bottom of this page to join PEN's appeal to the Iranian authorities:

  • Expressing concern at reports that blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki who suffers from serious kidney disease has been ordered to return to prison, and urging that this order be rescinded and that he be allowed to receive specialist medical care outside prison;
  • Urging that his conviction and sentence be overturned immediately, as they relate solely to his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression;
  • Further urging that the conviction and sentence of his father, Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki be overturned immediately, as his advocacy on behalf of his son is a legitimate and peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

 


Background

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, 29, blogger and founder of an anti-censorship group known as ‘Iran Proxy,’ was arrested on December 13, 2009, in Malekan, East Azerbaijan Province, after discussing politics in a series of critical blogs which were blocked by the government. He was held in pre-trial detention in solitary confinement for 10 months after his arrest and later sentenced to a 15-year prison term after conviction of membership of an illegal organization aiming to harm national security in connection with his alleged membership of the internet group ‘Iran Proxy’; “spreading propaganda against the system”, “insulting the Supreme Leader,” and “insulting the President”. An appeals court upheld his sentence. Ronaghi Maleki has said that when he told a judge about the torture he had been subjected to in detention, rather than ordering an investigation, the judge told him that he ‘deserved it’.

In July 2012, Maleki was reportedly granted leave, during which time he was arrested again for participation in helping earthquake victims near his home town in East Azerbaijan province. This led to two other trials in 2013: he was sentenced to two years for “gathering and colluding to harm national security,” while giving aid to earthquake victims and five months for disobeying the orders of police while giving aid to the same victims. The two-year sentence was overturned on appeal in September 2013.

Maleki was held in Evin Prison in Tehran, where he developed serious kidney problems—thought to be the result of torture—and suffers from related complications. In March 2011 he was hospitalized and underwent a kidney transplant in May of the same year. He has subsequently been hospitalized several times.

In November 2012 he was again granted leave for medical treatment, but was recalled to prison before the presidential election in June 2013. Maleki went on hunger strike on August 9, 2013, in protest at being denied medical leave, however, he was forced to suspend it on September 5, 2013, after becoming critically ill.

Maleki was finally granted medical leave again on September 4, 2014; however, he was re-arrested in March 2015 after the authorities accused him of attempting to flee the country, claims which his father vehemently denies. He is currently being held in Ward 7 of Evin Prison and is thought to have embarked upon another hunger strike. There are serious concerns for his health.

Ronaghi Malek’s father, Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, learned in early July 2015 that he had been sentenced to four months imprisonment by Branch 116 of the Tabriz General Court, in a hearing he had not been informed about and therefore took place without his presence or the presence of his lawyer. The verdict is subject to appeal. Members of the family have several times reported that they have been pressured and threatened by members of the intelligence services not to speak publicly about Hossein Ronaghi Maleki’s case.

 


Please SHARE this story on social media using the hashtag #FreeHosseinRonaghi, in an effort to increase public awareness:
 

Please SIGN the petition at the bottom of this page to join PEN's appeal to the Iranian authorities:

  • Expressing concern at reports that blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki who suffers from serious kidney diseasehas been ordered to return to prison, and urging that this order be rescinded and that he be allowed to receive specialist medical care outside prison;
  • Urging that his conviction and sentence be overturned immediately, as they relate solely to his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression;
  • Further urging that the conviction and sentence of his father, Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki be overturned immediately, as his advocacy on behalf of his son is a legitimate and peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

 


 
The period for signing this petition is now over.