Middle East

Iranian rights campaigner sentenced over BBC work

Emad Baghi
Image caption Mr Baghi is a prominent human rights campaigner, author and journalist

A prominent Iranian rights campaigner has been sentenced to six years in jail after he recorded an interview for the BBC's Persian language TV channel.

Emad Baghi was convicted of engaging in propaganda against the Islamic system, a statement on his website said.

The court charges referred to his BBC interview with Iran's leading reformist cleric, the late Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri.

Mr Baghi, 49, remains free, pending an appeal hearing.

Rights campaign

The interview was broadcast after the death of Ayatollah Montazeri in December 2009. His funeral sparked a series of anti-government demonstrations across Iran.

Mr Baghi was arrested days later, then freed on bail in June.

In a separate case, he was sentenced in July to one year in prison and banned from political activities for five years, after being convicted of endangering national security in relation to his work defending prisoners' rights. An appeal court upheld the sentence on Tuesday.

Emad Baghi was awarded the prestigious Martin Ennals award in 2009 for his work campaigning against the death penalty and for other rights activities in Iran.

He has spent four-and-a-half years in prison over the past decade, and suffers from serious heart and kidney ailments.

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