Forced Media Blackout for Prisoner Families

Sep 27, 20100 comments

September 24, 2010

Following the summons of journalist and human rights activist Abdolreza Tajik’s sister, an informed source close to the Tajik family told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, “The sister of this prisoner is being forced to stop talking to the media for a while in order to avoid getting arrested herself. She needs to be able to pursue her brother’s case.” Parvin Tajik, who is now free on bail, was summoned to investigation Branch 5 of Evin prison on Saturday. The reason for the summons was stated as “providing some explanations about Reza Tajik’s case.” But at the interrogation session, Tajik was accused of publishing lies, congregation and collusion and propaganda against the state. She has not accepted any of these accusations. At the end of the session a bail order was issued and she was released. “Ms. Tajik has been placed under pressure to not speak any more. Apparently these charges were raised against her because she publicized her brother’s mistreatment to websites and news agencies. But is it possible for the family of a prisoner to seek justice for their loved one and not to defend him? However, she is forced to remain silent for a few days because Tajik only has his sister to deal with his affairs,” said the informed source. “After several days of no contact with her brother, Ms. Tajik will go to visit her brother tomorrow. I doubt Tajik knows anything about her sister being accused,” the source added. Abdolreza Tajik is an experienced political journalist who has worked with several reformist newspapers. He was arrested for the third time on 12 June 2010 and there were reports of his “suffering indignities” in prison [alternatively translated as “violated in prison”].  Parvin Tajik, along with other members of her family, wrote a letter to the Head of the Iranian Judiciary, demanding an investigation into her brother’s mistreatment in prison. The letter was subsequently published on Iranian news websites. Later, Ms. Tajik told the Campaign that a member of the Prosecutor’s Office provided her with an explanation about what might have been construed as “being violated” as an instance where a prisoner may be disrespected while changing his clothes or receiving a body search, or that there may be individuals present who may insult or ridicule the prisoner, but that none of these should be construed as sexual abuse. The official emphasized that Mr. Tajik was not sexually abused, something that many people may have wrongly assumed to be the meaning of what Parvin Tajik had said about her brother’s conditions earlier. Abdolreza Tajik has been in prison for the past three months.