Reporters Without Borders

Press freedom violations recounted in real time (from 1st January 2010)

Press freedom violations recounted in real time (from 1st January 2010)

Published on Tuesday 22 June 2010. Updated on Wednesday 23 June 2010.
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22 June 2010 - More newspapers forced to close, more arrests

The magazine Education Culture was closed for good on 20 June by the Commission for Press Authorisation and Surveillance, which answers to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. The commission also issued a warning to three other magazines.

One of the editors of the business daily Pool said on 19 July that it was suspending publication “in order to review the newspaper’s policies.” The announcement follows a warning from the Commission for Press Authorisation and Surveillance accusing it of publishing “false information” in its articles about the government’s monetary policies. The newspaper has been subjected to a great deal of harassment for the past year.

The sports daily Donya e Varzesh (World of Sport) meanwhile stopped publishing last October after getting a warning in response to an article reporting that Revolutionary Guards had bought lots of tickets for a football match so that the stadium would not be full of demonstrators.

Journalist and blogger Ebrahim Rashidi notified his family by telephone on 17 June that he had been arrested by intelligence ministry officials in the northwestern city of Ardabil. Rashidi, who writes for the weekly Bayram, had been missing since 14 June.

Reporters Without Borders has learned that Akbar Azad, an Azeri journalist who was arrested in Tehran on 25 May, has been transferred to a prison in Tabriz, in the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan.

The organisation has also learned that Nasour Naghipour, a blogger who was arrested in March, has been released pending trial after payment of 100 million toman (75,000 euros) in bail.


8 June 2010 – One-year prison sentence against blogger and women’s rights activist

Blogger, journalist and women’s rights activist, Jila Bani Yaghoob, was informed on 8 June that the 26th Chamber of the Tehran Revolutionary Court had sentenced her to one year in prison and banned her from working as a journalist for 30 years.

Yaghoob and her husband Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee were arrested on 20 June 2009 with around 20 other journalists during demonstrations that followed the contested re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iranian president. She was released on 24 August but her husband was sentenced to five years in prison.

Badrolssadat Mofidi, Secretary General of the Association of Iranian Journalists and a contributor to several newspapers, was freed on 7 June on payment of bail of 100 million tomans (75,000 euros). She was arrested on 28 December 2009 and held in section 29 of Evin prison.


7 June 2010 - Release of a journalist

Reporters Without Borders has learned of the release on 1st June of Mohammad Sadegh Javadihessar, an editorialist on the banned daily Etemad-e Melli. The journalist had been arrested on 30 December 2009 after being summoned by the intelligence ministry. His home was searched for seven hours.

Azam Vismeh, online journalist with Parlemannews, the official website of the reformist parliamentarians, and Mahbobeh Khanssari, a contributor to the agency Cultural Heritage, who were arrested at their homes on 1st June, were only able to tell their families of their detention at Evin jail on 5 and 6 June 2010.


2 June 2010 - Two women journalists arrested

Reporters Without Borders has learned that two women journalists and bloggers who work for pro-reform newspapers and websites were arrested at their homes yesterday by men in plain-clothes. They are Azam Vismeh, who works for Parlemannews, the official website of the pro-reform parliamentarians, and Mahbobeh Khanssari, who writes for the Cultural Heritage agency. The reasons for their arrest and their place of detention are still unknown.

Journalist and researcher Mohammad Norizad’s sentence of three and a half years in prison and 50 lashes was confirmed on 29 May by a Tehran appeal court. Norizad, who kept a blog (http://mohammadnurizad.blogfa.com/), was convicted on charges of anti-government publicity and insulting the authorities.

Norizad worked for several years as a columnist for the daily Kayhan, the leading mouthpiece of Iran’s conservatives. Following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection in June 2009, he began to openly criticise the Supreme Leader of the Revolution, the government and the judicial system.

Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee, a journalist who worked for the now closed daily Sarmayeh, was returned to Tehran’s Evin prison on 29 May after two months of conditional release. He is serving the five-year jail sentence he received following his June 2009 arrest. On the day he was returned to prison, the trial of his wife, fellow-journalist Jila Baniyaghoob, began before a Tehran revolutionary court. She is accused of propaganda against the Islamic Republic. Arrested together with her husband at their Tehran home on 20 June 2009, she was released on 20 August 2009 on payment of 100 million toman (90,000 euros) in bail.

Mazyar Khosravi, the editor of the Hammihannews (http://hammihannews.com/news/9857) website, has been released pending trial. He was arrested in Tehran on 2 May on a charge of publishing false information because he allegedly posted reports and eye-witness accounts about an attack on the university campus by Basij militiamen on 14 June 2009, two days after President Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection. Many students were serious injured in the raid and, according to some sources, five were killed. The BBC broadcast video footage of the attack.


30 May 2010 - Arrests of journalists continue

Azeri journalist Akbar Azad, a contributor to the magazine Varlighe and the weekly Yarpagh, one of Iran’s leading Azeri-language newspapers, was arrested at his Tehran home by several men in plain clothes on 25 May. When previously arrested on 10 September 2008, he spent 50 days in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison and was released only after payment of 50 million toman in bail.

Two other Azeri journalists are currently detained. They are Said Matinpour of Yarpagh and Rahim Gholami, a contributor to several local newspapers in the northwestern city of Ardabil. Arrested on 11 July 2009, Matinpour has breathing problems that have not received the necessary medical treatment in prison. Gholami has been held since 29 October 2009.

Two journalists who were arrested on 15 May, Ramin Jabary and Mostafar Jamishidei, were subsequently released pending trial. They each had to pay 15 million toman in bail. Jabary was freed on 17 May. Jamishidei was freed on 27 May.


Website editor arrested for video of university campus attacks

Mazyar Khosravi, the editor of the Hammihannews (http://hammihannews.com/news/9857) website, was arrested on 2 May in Tehran on a charge of publishing false information as a result of a Tehran University complaint accusing him of posting reports and eye-witness accounts about attacks on the university campus by Basij militiamen on 14 June 2009, two days after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection.

Many students were serious injured in the attacks and, according to some sources, five students were killed. See a BBC report on the subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GVfGLJO4Iw&feature=player_embedded

Reporters Without Borders has meanwhile learned of the release of the following four journalists and bloggers pending trial:

  • Mojtaba Gahestoni, the editor of the Sokhango.blogfa.com (http://sokhango.blogfa.com) website, who was arrested on 2 March and released on 4 April
  • Said Jalali, a blogger and contributor to the Human Rights Rapporteurs Committee, who was arrested on 1 December 2009 and released on 29 March
  • Said Kalnaki, a blogger and member of the Human Rights Rapporteurs Committee, who was arrested on 1 December 2009 and released on 13 March
  • Foad Shamss, a blogger who was arrested on 30 November 2009 and released on 10 March.

“We are in prison because we are journalists”

Around 20 imprisoned journalists issued a joint letter for World Press Freedom Day on 3 May in which they protest against their detention.

The letter, which is circulating online, says: “This year, we bloggers and journalists are celebrating World Press Freedom Day in prison. We have been jailed and given unjust sentences for wanting to inform, for writing articles, for carrying out interviews and for participating in the debate about freedom and democracy. Purely and simply for doing our duty as journalists.”

Reporters Without Borders has also learned that Ali Mohammad Islampour, the editor of the pro-reform newspaper Navai Vaghat, who had been arrested on 3 February, was released provisionally on 3 March, and that Omid Montazeri, a journalist with the pro-reform newspapers Shargh and Kargozaran, was released provisionally on 5 April.


29 March 2010 - Prisoners bailed or released on licence to mark Iran’s New Year

Several journalists and bloggers have been freed on bail while awaiting trial or released on licence, to mark Iranian New Year.

Journalist Sasan Aghaei, of the daily Farhikhteghan was released on bail on 28 March, after 120 days in custody.

Reporters Without Borders also learned of the release of four journalists on 18 and 19 March 2010: Ali Moazemi, journalist on the opinion pages of several newspapers and director of the blog “Here and Now”, arrested on 7 March 2010; Kivan Farzin, journalist on Farhangh é ahangh arrested on 5 January. Two journalists on the cultural monthly, who were arrested at the same time as Farzin, Behrangh Tonkaboni, and Arvin Sedaghat Kish, were freed on 28 February.

Hamid Mafi, journalist for several local and national newspapers, including Hadiss Qazvin and Farhangh Ashti in the northern city of Qazvin, arrested on 9 February 2010, Ehsan Mehrabi, journalist on the daily Farhikhteghan and journalist and blogger Naimeh Dostar were all released on 13 March.

The legal authorities also allowed three journalists a release on licence. They were: Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee, Kivan Samimi Behbani and Saide Lylaz, held since June 2009 and sentenced to prison terms of three to six years.

However, several other journalists, whose situation is very worrying, were denied the right to visits or were not allowed releases on licence. One of them was Masud Lavassani, a journalist and blogger arrested on 26 September and sentenced in December 2009 to eight years in jail. Another such case was that of human rights activist and reformist journalist Mehdi Mahmudian, who was arrested on 16 September. At the request of these journalists’ families, Reporters Without Borders had not added their names to its barometer.

Emadoldin Baghi, journalist and leading human rights figure in Iran, was denied the right to spend the New Year with his family, despite putting up bail in a significant sum.

The state of health of Nader Karimi, a journalist on several publications including Gozaresh, Feker and Syasat rouz, is giving rise to very serious concern. He is suffering from several illnesses relating to a wound dating back to the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988 and requiring specialised nursing care. He was arrested in Tehran on 21 November 2008 for an alleged breach of the country’s security and for espionage. He was sentenced to ten years in prison by the 28th chamber of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.


29 March 2010 - Prisoners bailed or released on licence to mark Iran’s New Year

Several journalists and bloggers have been freed on bail while awaiting trial or released on licence, to mark Iranian New Year.

Journalist Sasan Aghaei, of the daily Farhikhteghan was released on bail on 28 March, after 120 days in custody.

Reporters Without Borders also learned of the release of four journalists on 18 and 19 March 2010: Ali Moazemi, journalist on the opinion pages of several newspapers and director of the blog “Here and Now”, arrested on 7 March 2010; Kivan Farzin, journalist on Farhangh é ahangh arrested on 5 January. Two journalists on the cultural monthly, who were arrested at the same time as Farzin, Behrangh Tonkaboni, and Arvin Sedaghat Kish, were freed on 28 February.

Hamid Mafi, journalist for several local and national newspapers, including Hadiss Qazvin and Farhangh Ashti in the northern city of Qazvin, arrested on 9 February 2010, Ehsan Mehrabi, journalist on the daily Farhikhteghan and journalist and blogger Naimeh Dostar were all released on 13 March.

The legal authorities also allowed three journalists a release on licence. They were: Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee, Kivan Samimi Behbani and Saide Lylaz, held since June 2009 and sentenced to prison terms of three to six years.

However, several other journalists, whose situation is very worrying, were denied the right to visits or were not allowed releases on licence. One of them was Masud Lavassani, a journalist and blogger arrested on 26 September and sentenced in December 2009 to eight years in jail. Another such case was that of human rights activist and reformist journalist Mehdi Mahmudian, who was arrested on 16 September. At the request of these journalists’ families, Reporters Without Borders had not added their names to its barometer.

Emadoldin Baghi, journalist and leading human rights figure in Iran, was denied the right to spend the New Year with his family, despite putting up bail in a significant sum.

The state of health of Nader Karimi, a journalist on several publications including Gozaresh, Feker and Syasat rouz, is giving rise to very serious concern. He is suffering from several illnesses relating to a wound dating back to the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988 and requiring specialised nursing care. He was arrested in Tehran on 21 November 2008 for an alleged breach of the country’s security and for espionage. He was sentenced to ten years in prison by the 28th chamber of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.


19 March 2010 – Two releases

Two journalists were released on bail on 17 March pending trial: Akbar Montajabi of the closed daily Etemad-e Melli, who was arrested on 7 February, and Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee of the closed daily Sarmayeh, who was arrested on 20 June 2009.


16 March 2010

Sussan Mohamadkhani Ghiassvanad, a writer and online journalist, was arrested by intelligence ministry agents at her home in the city of Karaj on 11 March 2010. She managed to contact her family two days later. She is currently being detained in Ghezel Hessar jail.

Reporters Without Borders has learned of the release on 13 March of three journalists and bloggers:

- Vahid Pourostad, a blogger arrested on 8 January 2010

- Lilli Farhadpour, a contributor to Meher News, arrested on 7 February

- Somayeh Momeni, a journalist on Nasim Bidary, arrested on 7 February

These journalists were all released on bail while awaiting trial.


7th March 2010

Ali Moazemi, a journalist on the opinion pages of several newspapers and director of the blog “Here and now“, was arrested on 7 March 2010,after being summoned by the intelligence ministry. His family have had no news since of the reason for this arrest of where he is being held.

On 2 March, Mojtaba Gahestoni, director of the website Sokhango (spokesman), was arrested in the city of Ahvaz.

Reporters Without Borders has learned of the release of four journalists and bloggers, on 7 and 8 March:

  • Mehrdad Rahimi, blogger arrested on 2 January, was released on 8 March.
  • Yashar Darolshafa, netizen arrested on 2 February, was freed on 8 March.
  • Ahmad Jalali Farahani, contributor to Meher News arrested on 7 February, was released on 8 March.
  • Zeynab Kazem-Khah, journalist on ISNA, arrested on 7 February, was freed on 7 March.

These journalists were all released on bail while awaiting trial.


5 March 2010 - Some journalists released but arrests of netizens continues

Journalist Abolfazl Abedini Nasr was arrested at his home in the city of Ahvaz on 2 March by several men in plain clothes. The men, who all wore hoods, broke down the door of his house and brutally beat him. He had been earlier arrested on 30 June 2009 and freed on 26 October after putting up bail of 300 million tomans (270,000 euros).

Several human rights activists were arrested on the same day, among them the blogger and activist Naghipour Nasour. The director of the website http://www.nasour.net/ was arrested at home in Qazvin by agents in plain-clothes. The reasons for his arrest and the place in which he is being detained are still unknown.

Reporters Without Borders learned on 3 March of the release of three journalists:

  • Noushin Jafari, journalist for Etemad, arrested on 3 February
  • Reza Norbakhsh, editor of the daily Farhikhteghan, arrested at his workplace in Tehran on 4 August, and who had been sentenced to six years in prison for “taking part in illegal demonstrations” and for articles posted on the news website Jomhoryat
  • Mortaza Kazemian, journalist for several reformist newspapers, arrested on 28 December 2009, was released after spending 34 days in solitary confinement in section 209 of Evin prison.

Journalist Said Laylaz had his sentence of nine years in jail reduced to three years by the Tehran appeal court. Kambiz Norrozi, head of the Association of Iranian Journalists, sentenced on 17 November to two years in jail and 76 strokes of the whip for making “publicity against the regime and disturbing public order”, had his sentence reduced on appeal to one year in prison.


1st March 2010 - Five released, two arrested, two convicted

Reporters Without Borders has learned of the release yesterday of four journalists and bloggers:

  • Abdolreza Tajik, freelance journalist committed free expression activist and contributor to the daily Farhikhteghan, who was arrested on 28 December 2009,
  • Behrangh Tonkaboni, journalist on Farhangh é ahangh, arrested on 5 January 2010,
  • Rozbeh Karimi journalist for Shargh and Kargozaran, who was arrested on 2 January 2010,
  • Mashaallah Shamsolvaezin, spokesperson for the Iranian Journalists’ Association and the Committee for the Defence of Freedom of the Press, who was arrested on 28 December 2009.

Ali Hekmet, a member of the Committee for the Defence of Freedom of the Press, who was arrested on 2 January, was freed on 27 February.

These five journalists were all released on bail while awaiting trial.

However, Reporters Without Borders learned of the arrest on 25 February of the journalist Henghameh Shahidi, after she was summoned by the intelligence ministry. She was taken to Evin jail and two days later sentenced on appeal by the 54th chamber of the Tehran court to six years in prison and a fine of 50,000 tomans. Her lawyer, Mr Mostafaei, said, “The speed of sentencing is astounding. The verdict was upheld the very next day after the journalist’s arrest.

Shahidi had previously been arrested on 29 June 2009 when she spent 50 days in solitary confinement in section 209 of Evin prison. She had been released on 2 November 2009 on the order of the 26th chamber of the Tehran revolutionary court, on putting up bail of 9,000,000 tomans (8,000 euros).

Blogger Ali Anjam Rooz was arrested at his home during a search by plain-clothes intelligence ministry agents on 27 February. It is not known either why he was arrested or where he is being held.

Omid Montazeri, a journalist on Shargh and Kargozaran and a contributor to several newspapers, was arrested on 28 December 2009 and sentenced on 30 January 2010 to six years in jail by the 15th chamber of the Tehran revolutionary court. His lawyer was not permitted to attend the hearing.

Kivan Samimi Behbani, a freelance journalist and former editor of the independent monthly Nameh (The Letter) that was banned in 2005, who was arrested on 13 June 2009, was sentenced on 2 February to six years in prison. He was also banned from carrying out any political or journalistic activity. He has come under substantial pressure to renounce his humanitarian commitment and was recently transferred into a single cell in section 209 of Evin jail.


19 February 2010 - Five released

Omid Mehregan, journalist on the opinion pages of several newspapers, was released yesterday while awaiting trial, after 15 days in custody. Mazyar Sameii, contributor to several literary magazines, including Naghad noo, was freed on 17 February while awaiting trial.

Ali Kalai, arrested on 7 February, Ardavan Tarkameh, arrested on 27 January and Parisa Kakaei, a journalist and director of a blog (http://parisad.blogspot.com/) arrested on 2 January 2010, were also released on bail while awaiting trial.


17 February 2010 - Arrests, orchestrated by the intelligence ministry and the Revolutionary Guards, continue in Iran

Ahmadinejad Foad Sadeghi, director of the website Ayandenews, was arrested at his workplace on 12 February and taken to an unknown destination. The online journalist who founded the now-censored website Baztab is close to Mohsen Rezai, former commander of the Revolutionary Guard and a candidate at the 12 June 2009 elections. Ayandenews has been blocked several times since 12 June for posting news about demonstrations and for failing to respect the official line.

Reporters Without Borders confirms the arrests of four other journalists.

  • 2 February, arrest of Ali Malihi, journalist on the daily Etemad in Tehran
  • 6 February arrest of Naimeh Dostar in Tehran
  • 9 February, arrest of Hamid Mafi, journalist for several local and national newspapers, including Hadiss Qazvin and Farhangh Ashti in the city of Qazvin, northern Iran
  • 9 February, arrest of Hamid Ghaznavian, journalist and children’s rights activist, in Qazvin

Elsewhere, Alireza Saghafi, editor of the magazine Rah Ayandeh (banned in May 2008) and member of the Iranian Writers Association, was released on 14 February. He had been sentenced to three years in prison by Tehran’s revolutionary court. He was previously arrested on 1st May, one hour ahead of demonstrations called to mark the 1st May, and had been released on bail of 70 million tomans on 10 June 2009.

Mazadk Ali Nazari, editor of the website Journalists for peace, was freed on bail on 8 February while awaiting trial. He had been arrested in Tehran on 1st November 2009.


5 February 2010 - New arrests bring total of journalists and netizens held to more than 60

Six arrests reported in the past few days means that the total of journalists and netizens held in Iran now surpasses 60. The latest to be arrested were Omid Mehregan, who writes opinion pieces for several pro-reform newspapers, and Noushin Jafari, who writes for the arts and literature pages of the daily Etemad. Plain-clothes men went to their home on 3 February and took them off to an unknown location.

Kaveh Ghassemi Kermanshahi, a journalist who is a member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, was arrested by intelligence ministry agents at his home on 2 February. It is not known where he is being held.

Maziar Samiee and Yashar Darolshafa, two journalists who contribute to Sarpiche, a news website that can no longer be accessed, were also arrested at their home on 2 February and taken to an unknown location. Sameii writes for several literary reviews such as Naghad Noo as well.

When intelligence ministry agents searched the home of fellow Sarpiche contributor Ardavan Tarkameh, on 2 February, they arrested his sister, Bahar Tarkameh, and took her off to an unknown location. Computers and books were seized during the raid. It turns out that Ardavan was himself arrested on 27 December at the home of Omid Montazeri, one of the 16 defendants in a new trial of government opponents that opened before a Tehran revolutionary court on 30 January.

Niloufar Lary, a journalist with the magazine Chehel Cheragh, was arrested on 1 February when she responded to a summons to report to the intelligence ministry. Computers and books were seized when a search of her home was carried out in the evening after her arrest.

Journalist Mostafa Izadi of Etemad-e Melli (a newspaper that was closed by the authorities last July) was released on bail on 1 February pending trial. He had been held for 34 days. Azad Lotpoury, the editor of the Kurdish and Farsi-language newspaper Yaneh, was released on 28 January on payment of 40 million toman (35,000 euros) in bail.


29 January - Transfer

Masoud Bastani, a journalist on the daily newspaper Farhikhteghan, was transferred on 24 January to a prison outside of Tehran.

He was arrested on 4 July 2009 and had been held since then at Evin prison in the capital. He was tried, along with many other journalists, in a series of “show trials” in Tehran from August onwards. He was sentenced to six months in prison by the 15th chamber of the revolutionary court on 1st November.

Neither his lawyer nor his family was given any reason for this unusual transfer. His wife, journalist Mahsa Amrabadi said, ”They transferred him to another prison to put him under even more pressure”. Bastani has told his family that he was in a cell with four common-law criminals, all of whom are under sentence of death.


22 January 2010 - New arrest

Lilli Farhadpour, an Iranian journalist and writer, was arrested at his home on 21 January 2010. His son, Behrangh Tonkaboni, editor of the cultural monthly Farhangh é ahangh (Culture and Harmony), was arrested on 5 January.


21.01.2010 - Government warns 15 newspapers

In a continuing crackdown on the media in Iran, 15 newspapers received warnings this week for publishing comments by former reformist President Mohammad Khatami or former chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani on the way the authorities have been handling the country’s crisis.

Mohammed Ali Ramin, a loyal adviser to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has repeatedly warned and threatened media, especially print media, since taking over as deputy minister of culture and Islamic guidance in October. A warning is often the first step towards a newspaper’s definitive closure. A charge of “insulting the president” is the legal method most often used by Ramin to stop newspapers publishing criticism of Ahmadinejad.

The 15 newspapers targeted by the latest warnings were Tehran Emrouz, Arman Ravabet Omoumi, Farhikhtegan, Jomhouri Eslami, Asrar, Etemad, Jahan-e San’at, Poul, Afarinesh, Rouzan Etemad, Etelaat, Tose’e, Rouzan, Mardom Salari and Bahar.

Meanwhile, journalist Nassrin Vaziri of the ILNA news agency was released on 20 January subject to a guarantee that she would be present for her trial. She had been held in the capital’s Evin prison since her arrest on 28 December. Without saying why she was arrested, Tehran prosecutor Abass Jafari Dolatabadi said: “The investigation of her case is complete so she has been freed.”


15 January 2010 - Suspension

The weekly Hemat, a conservative pro-government publication, was suspended on 14 January 2010 on the order of the Tehran prosecutor for “insulting highly placed officials of the regime”. It was the paper’s second ban in less than a month, and for the same reason.

Hemat had carried a photo on its front page of former president, Hashemi Rafsanjani, flanked by several other figures in the regime and captioned “Rafsanjani’s men”.

Iran’s Press Authorisation and Surveillance Commission, the censorship arm of the Islamic Culture and Orientation Ministry, suspended Hemat on 4 February 2009. The paper was allowed to publish again two months later.

Also on 14 January, two journalists from the newspaper Atrak, Mehdi Ghilani and Farshad Azizi, were released on bail set at 100 million tomans (about 75,000 euros) while awaiting trial. They were arrested respectively on 6 and 7 January 2010, following bloody clashes involving students at Ferdowsi University in Mashhad.


8 January 2010 - Daily arrests

As a roundup continues in Iran of opposition and media figures orchestrated by the Ministry of Intelligence and Revolutionary Guards, Reporters Without Borders voiced dismay at the arrests of Rozbeh Karimi, Mehrdad Rahimi, Behrangh Tonkaboni, Kivan Farzin, Mehdi Ghilani and Farshad Azizi. The worldwide press freedom organisation has heard nothing more of several other Iranian journalists and bloggers who were also reportedly taken into custody recently.

Two journalists working on the newspaper Atrak, Mehdi Ghilani and Farshad Azizi, were arrested on 6 and 7 January 2010, after bloody clashes at a student demonstration at Ferdowsi University in Mashhad. They are being held at an undisclosed location.

Behrangh Tonkaboni, editor of the cultural monthly Farhangh é ahangh (Culture and Harmony), and journalist Kivan Farzin, were arrested at their workplace on 5 January. The newspaper’s main office was searched and computers and books seized. At the same time intelligence ministry agents searched the home of Tonkaboni’s mother, Lilli Farhapour, who is also a journalist and writer.

Intelligence ministry agents arrested journalist Rozbeh Karimi, who worked for the currently banned dailies Shargh and Kargozaran, at his home along with his wife, Forough Mirzai, on 2 January,

Also on 2 January, Mehrdad Rahimi, who is director of the blog (http://shahidayeshahr.blogfa.com// ), was arrested after being summoned by the intelligence ministry and she has reportedly been taken to Evin prison.


2 January 2010 - More arrests of journalists in Tehran

There have been more arrests of journalists in the past few days. Mohammad Sadegh Javadihessar, a columnist for the now-closed daily Etemad-e Melli, was arrested on 30 December after receiving a summons from the intelligence ministry the same day. Books and his computer’s hard disk were confiscated during a seven-hour search of his home. His family has received no word of him since his arrest.

Nemat Ahmadi, a lawyer who represents several imprisoned journalists, Mahsa Hekmet, another Etemad-e Melli journalist, and Mohammed Reza Zohdi, the former editor of the now closed newspaper Arya, who now writes for several other pro-reform newspapers and is a member of the Press Freedom Defence Committee, were arrested yesterday and were taken to an unknown location.

There were detained by men in plain-clothes who had come with an arrest warrant for Ali Hekmet, another member of the Press Freedom Defence Committee, and once there, arrested them instead. Ahmadi was released a few hours later but the two journalists, and Mashaallah Shamsolvaezin, the committee’s spokesman, who was arrested on 28 December, are still being held in an unknown location.

Parisa Kakaei , a journalists and blogger (http://parisad.blogspot.com/), was arrested today after being summoned by the intelligence ministry. She was reportedly transferred to Tehran’s Evin prison.


Press freedom violations recounted in real time - JUNE/DECEMBER 2009

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