Biographical Notes on Ahmad Zeidabadi

Ahmad Zeidabadi, the jailed Iranian journalist and political analyst, is the laureate of the 2011 UNESO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

Born in 1966, Mr Zeidabadi obtained a doctorate in international relations from Tehran University.

Mr. Zeidabadi began his journalism career in 1989 with the daily newspaper Ettelaat

At the time of his latest arrest, Mr Zeidabadi was the editor-in-chief of the daily Tehran pro-reform newspaper Azad Roozonline

A professor of political science, Mr Zeidabadi was the president of Iran’s largest organization of university graduates, the Iranian Alumni Association.

Mr Zeidabadi was imprisoned three times for a total of 13 months between 2000 and 2004. He gained prominence during his first imprisonment when he wrote an open letter denouncing the treatment of jailed journalists. Resisting strong pressure from the authorities, Mr. Zeidabadi maintained his public advocacy of press freedom and democracy.

Less than one year after he was released on bail in March 2001, Mr Zeidabadi was sentenced to serve 23 months and banned for five years from “all public and social activity, including journalism.”

Following his release, during the 2005 presidential campaign, Mr Zeidabadi published numerous articles calling for a boycott of the national election.

Mr Zeidabadi was arrested along with dozens of other Iranian journalists following the disputed presidential election of June 2009. He was tried two months later, along with other journalists and 100 prominent supporters of the country's pro-reform movement, on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. He was handed a six-year prison sentence, to be followed by five years of internal exile, and a lifetime ban on working as a journalist or engaging in any civil or political activity.

One week after his trial began, Mr Zeidabadi went on a hunger strike to protest his detention, and was hospitalized for 17 days after he was found unconscious in his cell.

He was transferred from Tehran’s Evin Prison to the high security Rajaishahr Prison.

Mr Zeidabadi was given the 2010 WAN-IFRA Golden Pen award.

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