Sunday, 30 May 2010
Ta Azadi-ye Rouznamehnagaran-e Zendani (Until the Freedom of Imprisoned Journalists) -The journalist, Bahman Ahmadi-Amouee, has returned to Evin prison after 72 days of home leave. On his return to prison, Bahman Ahmadi-Amouee was accompanied by friends who saw him off at the gates of Evin.
One day earlier, on 29 May, Mr Ahmadi-Amouee had received a phone call from the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office informing him that he had to return to prison the same evening. However, Mr Ahmadi-Amouee was not able to comply with the order because his wife, Jila Baniyaghoub, was due to appear in court the following day , He reported to Evin prison the next day, after his wife’s court appearance.
Mr Amouee and Ms Baniyaghoub were arrested together at home on 20 June 2009 and taken to Evin prison. At the trial court, Mr Ahmadi-Amouee was given a prison sentence of seven years and four months, which was changed by the Court of Appeals to five years in jail.
On his return to Evin prison, Mr Ahmadi-Amouee, who had been allowed to take home leave in March on a bail of nearly $600,000, as ever displayed a strong morale. He was smiling all the time and trying to raise his friends’ morale, assuring them that it would not be difficult for him to tolerate the prison. He repeatedly said: ‘I am like many journalists at home and abroad, some of whom are in prison with very heavy sentences. I say to them they should live their lives and also think of Iran.’
Having been called by the Prosecutor’s Office to hear that he had to go back to prison, he immediately said farewell to his friends on his weblog. In his farewell note Mr Ahmadi-Amouee says:
There were lots of things I would have liked to do and places to go. I could not do that, but I’m happy. In fact, I was embarrassed that many of my friends were in prison and I was outside. In the last few days, I was ashamed with myself, thinking of the students and journalists who are in prison in very difficult conditions. I as becoming suspicious of myself, wondering why no one was asking me to go back to prison.
Writing about Mr Ahmadi-Amouee, the news site, Jaras (short for its Persian name, Jonbesh-e Rah-e Sabz, or the Movement of the Green Road), says:
Those who know Bahman Ahmadi-Amouee and have worked with him say that in all his years as a journalist, covering economics, he did not write a single piece to flatter those in charge, and never compromised his professional principles.
Today, Bahman Ahmadi-Amouee is returning to prison where his sentence of five years is to be enforced – on someone who has never benefited from any special privileges, nor made any gains at the public’s expense. How can anyone justify such a sentence?
Bahman Ahmadi-Amouee is a fighting journalist, but a sentimental and kind fighter. In spite of his high morale and the smile on his lips when bidding farewell, his eyes were wet with teas. Still, as strong and steadfast as ever, he said farewell to each and every one of his relatives and friends.