January 18, 2008 / 3:27 PM / 11 years ago

Jailed Iranian journalist released on parole

TEHRAN (Reuters) - A prominent Iranian pro-reform journalist and rights activist who was jailed for violating national security has been released on parole on health grounds, the student news agency ISNA said on Friday.

Emadeddin Baghi was jailed in October for one year of a previously suspended sentence for acting against national security and publishing classified documents.

Baghi was transferred to a Tehran hospital last month after heart trouble in jail, a friend of the activist told Reuters at the time. Later he was returned to jail.

“Because of his heart problem, Baghi was released on parole and he was transferred to a Tehran hospital on Thursday to continue his medical treatment,” his lawyer Saleh Nikbakht told ISNA.

The founder of the Society for Defending Prisoners’ Rights, Baghi was previously jailed for insulting Islamic sanctities. He was released after three years in 2002.

Reformist politicians said Baghi’s arrest was an attempt to intimidate pro-reform activists in Iran ahead of parliamentary elections in March.

Baghi’s best-selling books about the so-called chain killing of intellectuals, during which four activists were murdered by “rogue” Intelligence Ministry agents, have been banned in Iran.

Rights groups often complain that Tehran imprisons pro-reform writers, journalists and intellectuals without due process. Iran denies holding political prisoners and routinely dismisses charges of rights abuses.

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