Iranian Blogger in Ill Health Returns to Prison

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Iranian blogger and activist Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki returned to Evin Prison on January 20, to continue his 15-year sentence, despite his continuing ill health.

In a post on Twitter on January 18, Ronaghi-Maleki wrote: “On Wednesday I will go to the Prosecutor’s office for arrest. Like hundreds of political prisoners I’m innocent and don’t deserve prison.”

Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his work as a human rights activist and blogger.

He was released on bail on June 17, 2015 due to health complications. Prior to his arrest, he had been suffering from kidney problems, but his conditions worsened further while in prison due to physical abuse and a lack of medical care.

Doctors have recommended Ronaghi-Maleki not return to jail, as it would worsen his condition. But last week the prosecutor’s office ordered the 30-year-old blogger back to Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.

”Might be my last post,” Ronaghi-Maleki tweeted yesterday, January 19. “But I’m determined to gain my freedom because I’m innocent,” he wrote and added that imprisonment is not the answer.

Ronaghi-Maleki’s return to prison was confirmed today by sources close to the young blogger.

Ronaghi-Maleki and his brother Hassan were arrested in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election of 2009. Both were taken to Evin Prison and put under intense physical and mental pressure in an effort to make them sign confessions. His brother, who was not politically active, was arrested in order to put added pressure on Hossein to confess. Hossein was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment.

In September 2014, Ronaghi-Maleki was released prematurely. Due to his serious health issues, it was thought that he would not live to serve out his sentence. But soon after his release, he was re-arrested in early 2015 and sent to Ward 8 of Evin Prison.

In an interview with IranWire in March 2015, Hossein’s father, Ahmad Ronaghi-Maleki, expressed major concern for the treatment of his son in prison: “They want to turn him into another Sattar Beheshti,” he said, referring to a blogger and activist who died in 2012 while in custody.

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