Wednesday 04 May 2011

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, a 25 Years Old Blogger

A group of student, women’s, and human rights activists, and bloggers have formed a campaign in support of ailing political prisoners in Iran. The Campaign in Support of Ailing Political Prisoners in Iran aims to draw the attention of world leaders and human rights organizations to the, lack of medical care provided to ailing political prisoners, deplorable conditions in Iran’s prisons, abusive behaviour of prison officials, and unjust prison sentences issued to Iranian citizens and activists.

The campaign’s first prisoner of focus is Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, a 25 year old Iranian blogger and computer expert who has received an inhumane sentence of 15 years in prison. Hossein has been suffering from a kidney infection since he was transferred to solitary confinement in Evin prison, according to his father. The campaign members believe that Hossein Ronaghi Maleki does not deserve to be in prison and have called for his immediate release.

Hossein Ronahgi Maleki, 25, is an Iranian blogger who wrote under the pen name ’Babak Khorramdin’. He has expertise in computer programming, creating blogs, and overcoming website filtering barriers [set by Iranian authorities to limit access to the Internet]. Moreover, he has made extensive efforts in fighting against cyber censorship in Iran. Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was also a member of a group called Iran Proxy which was active in assisting Iranian users overcome cyber censorship.

The mother tongue of this human rights activist is Azeri and he was born in the city of Tabriz. Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was arrested along with his brother on December 13, 2009 at their home in the city of Malekan. The next day, he was transferred to ward 2-A of Evin prison which is controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

There have been countless instances of violations against Hossein Ronaghi Maleki’s rights during his arrest and judicial process. Here are some of the rights violations that a person who devoted his time and energy to fight cyber censorship has continuously suffered: long term detention in solitary confinement cells in ward 2-A; excruciating interrogations accompanied by physical and psychological pressures; one month detention of his brother to mount pressure on Hossein Ronaghi Maleki; deprivation of visits with family members and the lawyer for long periods of time; delay in medical treatment, which put his life at serious risk; pressuring and intimidating his parents; and defaming him and making accusations against him in the Kayhan Daily newspaper before any trial was held.

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was finally sentenced to 15 years in prison upon the request of security bodies. The sentence was upheld by the Appeals Court. These days, he is held in a hospital following several months of medical deprivation. The deprivation of medical care is an issue that has also affected prisoners of conscience like Mansour Osanloo, Hashem Khastar, Mohsen Safaei Farahani, Mehdi Mahmoudian, Zahra Jabbari, Farah Vazehan, Fatemeh Rahnama, Abolfazl Abedini Nasr, Hamed Rouhinejad, Hadi Abedbkhoda, Mohammed Seifzadeh, and more. The health of these prisoners is at risk.

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki does not deserve to serve 15 years in prison for “Membership in the internet group, Iran Proxy", "Insulting the Supreme Leader", and "Insulting the President through blogging”.

We, a group of student, women’s, and human rights activists, and bloggers have formed a campaign in support of ailing prisoners. First, we aim to draw the attention of world leaders and human rights organizations to the situation of Hossein Ronaghi Maleki and his illness. We believe that Hossein Ronaghi Maleki does not belong in prison. We consider the violation of Hossein Ronaghi Maleki’s human rights and other prisoners struggling with an illness an undeniable injustice. We request for their release.

The Campaign for Ailing Prisoners has launched by focusing on Hossein Ronaghi Maleki. We attempt to defend the rights of prisoners with health risks in Iran.


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