Having already suffered six years in prison, the authorities have now exiled Ahmad Zeidabadi to Gonabad. This outstanding writer and journalist had already suffered from a different kind of exile and a tough punishment when he was transferred from Evin Prison to Rajaie Shahr Prison in Karaj. Now, according to a verdict reached by Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, he has been forced to spend an additional five years in exile and is banned from engaging in political and civil activities for life.
This goes against Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, which explicitly states that additional punishment, whether in the form of an exile or a ban, cannot legally exceed two years. This therefore means that judicial officials are duty-bound to review and set right the verdict that was issued for Ahmad Zeidabadi.
What has happened to Ahmad Zeidabadi is a unfortunate reminder that it is not only Iranian prisons that can hold prisoners of conscience and political prisoners, but also that a journalist who has served his entire sentence can also be exiled, and lose the right to express his views and opinions for life. If nothing is done, his mental health and life will also come under threat.
We — the journalists who have signed our names below — point out the legal failings in the verdict that was issued, protest the inaction and indifference of the judicial and security authorities with regard to the threats Ahmad Zeidabadi has faced against his life, and demand immediate action to guarantee his safety.
Youssef Azizi Banitorof
Sam Mahmoodi Sarabi