Martin Ennals Award for Iranian Human Rights Defender
Emad Baghi pleads for abolition of the death penalty. For years, Baghi has been collecting information about all executions since the 1979 revolution, which he estimates to be more than 10,000. He published numerous articles and books about a variety of topics, including democratic interpretations of Islam, and death penalty and executions. In his book Right to Life Baghi demonstrated that neither the Quran nor Islamic jurisprudence pose obstacles toward abolition of the death penalty. The Iranian authorities banned Right to Life.
Baghi was sentenced in 2000 to 7,5 years imprisonment for blasphemy, but he was released in 2003. In 2007 Baghi was arrested again and sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment for undermining national security (publishing confidential governmental information) and for propaganda against the Islamic Republic, because he had written articles about the bomb attacks in Khuzestan in 2005-2006. He was released in 2008, after international attention for his health problems.
Baghi is president of Society for the Defense of Prisoners Rights, member of the Central Council of the Society for Defending Press Freedom, co-founder and board member of the Pacifist Association and co-founder of the Guardians to the Right to Life.
The Chairman of the Jury of the Martin Ennals Award, Hans Thoolen, described Emad Baghi as “an exceptionally brave man defending human rights despite imprisonment and poor health”. The award ceremony will take place in Geneva in November 2009.