Emadeddin Baghi

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Emadeddin Baghi
Emadeddin Baghi-2018 5.jpg
Born (1962-04-25) 25 April 1962 (age 56)
Shahreza, Isfahan Province, Iran
Nationality Iranian
OccupationJournalist, human rights activist
Known forDissident journalism, imprisonment
Spouse(s)Fatemeh Kamali Ahmadsarai
Children3 daughters
Relatives Mohammad Ghouchani (son-in-law)
Awards Civil Courage Prize (2004)
Martin Ennals Award (2009)
Website Official website

Emadeddin Baghi (born 25 April 1962 [1] ) is an Iranian human rights activist, prisoners' rights advocate, investigative journalist, theologian and writer. He is the founder and head of the Committee for the Defense of Prisoners' Rights and the Society of Right to Life Guardians in Iran, and the author of twenty books, six of which have been banned in Iran. Baghi was imprisoned in connection with his writings on the Chain Murders of Iran, which occurred in Autumn 1998, [2] and imprisoned again in late 2007 for another year on charges of "acting against national security." According to his family and lawyers, Baghi has been summoned to court 23 times since his release in 2003. [2] He has also had his passport confiscated, his newspaper closed, and suspended prison sentences passed against his wife and daughter. [3] Baghi was rearrested on 28 December 2009 on charges related to an interview with Grand Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri. Baghi was released and then again rearrested on 5 December 2010.

Committee for the Defense of Prisoners' Rights, also translated as Defending the Rights of Prisoners, is an Iranian NGO dedicated to defending the rights of prisoners in the Islamic Republic of Iran. It was founded by human rights activist Emadeddin Baghi after he was sentenced to prison in 1999 when the Iranian judiciary closed the Khordad newspaper where he worked. According to the Financial Times, the committee has two waged staff, and "survives on membership fees from 65 people, donations and a decision by Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri,, that it could accept religious dues."


Early life

Baghi was born in 1962. [1] In the years leading up to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, he began to participate as a political activist as an Islamic Reformist, under the mentorship of Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri. [1] [4] After the revolution, he studied theology and sociology in Qom and Tehran, respectively. His journalism career started in 1983, and by the 1990s, Baghi was working as the chief editor of the reformist newspaper Faith. [1]

Hussein-Ali Montazeri Iranian Islamic theologian, Islamic democracy activist, writer and human rights activist

Hussein-Ali Montazeri was an Iranian Shia Islamic theologian, Islamic democracy advocate, writer and human rights activist. He was one of the leaders of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. He was once the designated successor to the revolution's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, with whom he had a falling-out in 1989 over government policies that Montazeri claimed infringed on people's freedom and denied them their rights. Montazeri spent his later years in Qom, and remained politically influential in Iran, especially to the reformist movement. He was widely known as the most knowledgeable senior Islamic scholar in Iran and a Grand Marja of Shia Islam.

Qom City in Iran

Qom is the seventh metropolis and also the seventh largest city in Iran. Qom is the capital of Qom Province. It is located 140 km to the south of Tehran. At the 2016 census its population was 1,201,158. It is situated on the banks of the Qom River.

Tehran City in Iran

Tehran is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 8.694 million in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area of Greater Tehran, Tehran is the most populous city in Iran and Western Asia, and has the second-largest metropolitan area in the Middle East. It is ranked 24th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area.


Baghi and Akbar Ganji are credited with uncovering the responsibility of Iranian security personnel for the Chain Murders, in which a number of dissident intellectuals were found murdered, apparently by a serial killer. Baghi and Ganji both argued that orders for the murders came from high in the Iranian government. [5]

Akbar Ganji Iranian journalist

Akbar Ganji is an Iranian journalist and writer. He has been described as "Iran's preeminent political dissident", and a "wildly popular pro-democracy journalist" who has crossed press censorship "red lines" regularly. A supporter of the Islamic revolution as a youth, he became disenchanted in the mid-1990s and served time in Tehran's Evin Prison from 2001 to 2006 after publishing a series of stories on the murder of dissident authors known as the Chain Murders of Iran. While in prison he issued a manifesto which established him as the first "prominent dissident, believing Muslim and former revolutionary" to call for a replacement of Iran's theocratic system with "a democracy".

Two newspapers at which Baghi worked were banned by the Iranian government: Faith in 2000, [6] and Joumhouriat in 2003. [7] His books on the Chain Murders were also banned. [8]

Baghi has also written extensively about the death penalty, of which he is an active opponent. The United Nations and other international human rights groups have relied heavily his work, particularly on juveniles sentenced to death, for their own reports. [9] Baghi estimates that more than 10,000 people have been executed in Iran since the Islamic Revolution. [1]

United Nations Intergovernmental organization

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that was tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, and is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. In 24 October 1945, at the end of World War II, the organization was established with the aim of preventing future wars. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN is the successor of the ineffective League of Nations.


Emadeddin Baghi has been arrested several times by the government of Iran on charges described by international human rights organizations as politically motivated.

In 2000, he was charged with "endangering national security" for his writings about the Chain Murders in the late 1990s. He was sentenced to three years' imprisonment by Revolutionary Court on charges brought by the intelligence ministry and state television. His newspaper Faith was also banned and two of its editors also imprisoned. [6] [10] He served two years of that sentence, and one year was suspended. [2]

Islamic Revolutionary Court is a special system of courts in the Islamic Republic of Iran designed to try those suspected of crimes such as smuggling, blaspheming, inciting violence or trying to overthrow the Islamic government. The court started its work after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

In 2003, Judge Babayee of Branch 6 of the Revolutionary Court gave Baghi a one-year suspended term for "endangering national security" and "printing lies" in his book, The Tragedy of Democracy in Iran. [2] Baghi received another one-year prison sentence for "acting against national security" on 15 October 2007, when he was summoned by Tehran's revolutionary court on the charges of "propaganda against the Islamic Republic" and "divulging state secret information". The Islamic Republic News Agency quoted an official who stated, "Baghi was doing his activities against national security under the cover of defending prisoners' rights". [11]

Baghi's imprisonment was condemned by Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders. [12] Amnesty International designated him a prisoner of conscience and campaigned for his release. [13]

Baghi was among the numerous journalists and reformists detained by the government of Iran on 28 December 2009 in the wake of clashes between demonstrators and police at the Ashura protests. [14] [15] In August 2010, Baghi was sentenced to a year's imprisonment and a five-year ban on political activity. On 22 September, opposition websites reported that Baghi had been sentenced to an additional six years' imprisonment for "propaganda against the state" and other charges for having broadcast an interview with dissident cleric Hossein Ali Montazeri on BBC Persian. [16] Amnesty International again named him a prisoner of conscience. [17]

Five years of the sentence was later overturned by an appeals court, and Baghi was released on in June 2011. In the months prior to his release, he and other prisoners went on a hunger strike to protest the deaths of dissidents Haleh Sahabi and Hoda Saber [18]


Emadeddin Baghi founded two Iranian nongovernmental organizations — the Society for the Defense of Prisoners' Rights in 2003, and the Society of Right to Life Guardians in 2005. The two organizations produce reports on the situation of Iranian prisoners and gather data about death penalty cases in Iran. [2]

Awards and recognition

Baghi was awarded the Civil Courage Prize in 2004, sharing it with Zimbabwean opposition politician Lovemore Madhuku. However, he was prohibited from leaving Iran to accept it. [19] The following year he won a human rights award from the French government. [1]

In 2009, Baghi won the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. This award is given annually in Geneva by a coalition of 10 international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Front Line, to a leading defender of human rights who is currently in danger. The Iranian government again denied Baghi permission to attend the award ceremony. [9] [20]


Baghi is married to Fatemeh Kamali Ahmad Sarahi, with whom he has three daughters, including Maryam Baghi. In 2007, the two were given three-year suspended sentences and five years' probation for attending human rights training in Dubai three years before. [7]

References and notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Emad Baghi: 2009". Martin Ennals Award. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Iran: Release Leading Defender of Prisoners' Rights". Human Rights Watch. 16 October 2007. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  3. "Prominent Iranian Human Rights Defender Emaddedin Baghi Detained". Amnesty International . Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  4. Azadeh Moaveni (2009). Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran. Random House Digital. pp. 20–21. ISBN   978-1400066452 . Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  5. Muhammad Sahimi (14 December 2009). "The Chain Murders". Frontline. PBS. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  6. 1 2 "Pro-reform journalist arrested in Iran". BBC News. 29 May 2000. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  7. 1 2 "Revolutionary court detains leading human rights advocate and journalist Emadeddin Baghi". Reporters Without Borders. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  8. "Iran jails journalist on security charge - friend". Reuters. 14 October 2007. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  9. 1 2 "Iran death penalty critic wins human rights award". Reuters. 20 April 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  10. Susan Sachs (25 April 2000). "Iran Reformers Feeling Pressed By Hard-Liners". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  11. "Iran arrests prisoners' rights activist". USA Today. Associated Press. 14 October 2007. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  12. Niusha Boghrati (16 October 2007). "Prisoners' Rights Activist Arrested and Detained". worldpress.org. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  13. "Iran: Prisoner of Conscience/Medical Concern: Emadeddin Baghi". Amnesty International. 16 May 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  14. Robert F. Worth (28 December 2009). "Iran Arrests Dissidents, Sites Report". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  15. "Dissident Iran Rises". The Wall Street Journal. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  16. William Yong (23 September 2010). "Dissident Iranian Journalist Is Jailed in a Continued Crackdown". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  17. "UA 05/10 Prisoner of conscience" (PDF). Amnesty International. 7 January 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  18. "Iran human rights activist speaks after release". Amnesty International. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  19. "Civil Courage Prize". civilcourageprize.org. 2010. Archived from the original on 11 August 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  20. "Iranian activist banned from receiving human rights award in Geneva". Amnesty International. 3 November 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2012.

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