Issa Saharkhiz, a prominent journalist and former senior Culture Ministry official, has told his family in a short phone call from prison that several of his ribs were broken during his arrest in northern Iran on July 4 in the postelection crackdown.
The 56-year-old Saharkhiz has told his family the authorities traced him through his Nokia cellular phone. Saharkhiz, who had campaigned for reformist candidate Mehdi Karrubi, has been highly critical of Iran’s supreme leader and of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
RFE/RL: What else did [your father] say? You said he’s being held in solitary confinement. Is it clear where he’s being held? Is it at Evin prison?
Saharkhiz: It’s not clear where he is being held. He also said: “Don’t expect to see me anytime soon. I will stay here for a long time.” He also said that all the tracking was done through Nokia and, if possible, lawyers should file a complaint against the Nokia company and take it to an international court and argue that Nokia should pay for all the damages and things that have happened in Iran.
Read more on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Earlier this month, Nokia had defended its actions in providing the technology to Iran:
Last year, Nokia Siemens Networks sold equipment to TCI, Iran’s national telecommunications company, that is capable of monitoring local calls.
“But that’s all there is to it,” Mard said. “The system sold to TCI doesn’t allow monitoring international calls, and it absolutely doesn’t allow monitoring Internet and data communication, not even SMS or picture messages.”
In most countries, including all European Union members and the United States, mobile networks are required by law to provide capability for monitoring local calls.
In July, Citizen Lab, a group of prominent Canadian researchers, launched the Global Initiative Network to rate how search engines and other businesses follow their own principles regarding freedom of expression and privacy.