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Dissident Journalist Loses Half Face And Eye


Alireza Rajaie, Iranian journalist and activist, after extensive surgery that left half of his face, including an eye, removed, August 2017

A prominent Iranian journalist and member of the semi-opposition political alliance of "nationalist-religious", Alireza Rajaei has lost his right eye and part of the right side of his face after a complicated surgery, his relatives have confirmed.

In 2011, Rajaei, 54, was sentenced to four years imprisonment and put behind bars. He was accused of acting against national security and being a member of Nationalist-Religious alliance.

The alliance is deemed as deviant and Western-inclined by the political forces close to Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

Rajaei, while doing his term in prison, got afflicted with Sinus cancer but never allowed to get treatment. Some of his former prison-mates have said on social media that on multiple occasions, the prison infirmary rejected to send Rajaei to hospital and attributed his pain to toothache "that was always remedied with pain-killers".

Political dissident and renowned Iranian journalist, Alireza Rajaei, before his surgery, his prison-mates say the prison infirmary officials denied his requests to be sent to hospital and dismissed his complaints of pain in his face "only giving him pain killers", undated
Political dissident and renowned Iranian journalist, Alireza Rajaei, before his surgery, his prison-mates say the prison infirmary officials denied his requests to be sent to hospital and dismissed his complaints of pain in his face "only giving him pain killers", undated

Some of his relatives and friends believe that his current condition is the direct result of the judiciary’s decision to deny him access to proper therapy.

Meanwhile, a Nationalist-Religious activist, Reza Alijani quoting Rajaei’s wife, Leila Liaqat, wrote in a Facebook post, “The surgeons were forced to enucleate Rajaei’s right eye and remove some of his facial bones to control his cancer”.

Alijani has explicitly accused the Islamic republic of being responsible for Rajaei’s current condition.

In recent days there were widespread reports on social media about Rajaei suffering a fourteen hour surgery and losing one eye. A picture was also published showing Rajaei on a hospital bed, with his right eye totally covered with white bandage.

Furthermore, the International Federation of Journalists, IFJ, reported the surgery in detail on its Persian website. Citing one of Rajaei’s companions, IFJ said, “Rajaei’s maxilla and a part of his upper jaw, as well as his muster muscle were completely removed after his right eye enucleation”.

Alireza Rajaei, during second half of 1990s was political desk editor of popular reformist dailies, including ‘Jame’e’, ‘Toos’, ‘Asr-i Azadegan’ and ‘Nishat’ that were banned one after the other.

He was also a Iranian parliament candidate in 2000 elections and garnered 771,677 (26.32%) of the popular votes in the capital city, Tehran.

However, after the Guardian Council declared hundreds of thousands votes null and void, Rajaei was not allowed to have a seat in the parliament. He was replaced by the hardliner and conservative father in-law of the Supreme Leader’s son, Gholam ali Haddad-Adel.

A year later, Rajaei was arrested and spent more than six months behind bars and 91 days in solitary confinement before being released on bail.

Furthermore, Rajaei along with dozens of other members of the Nationalist-Religious alliance was once again detained after bloody uprising against the reelection of the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2010.

He was released after doing his term in 2015.

International Human rights Organizations including the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have repeatedly condemned the Islamic republic for its inhumane actions against journalists.

Recently, RSF reiterated that Iran is one of the largest prisons for the journalists.

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