Reporters Without Borders

Press freedom violations recounted in real time (12 June 2009 - 31 Dec 2009)

Press freedom violations recounted in real time (12 June 2009 - 31 Dec 2009)

Published on Thursday 31 December 2009. Updated on Wednesday 20 January 2010.
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29 December 2009 - new arrests

Mashaallah Shamsolvaezin, Spokesperson for the Association of Iranian journalists and the press freedom defence Committee, editor of Iran’s first reformist newspapers, was arrested at his home by men in plain clothes on 28 December. Seeing that the arrest warrant was not legal and they had only a printed document with the revolutionary court heading on it but with no reference to his name or reasons for his arrest, the journalist asked for an explanation. But the men threatened him saying: “If you continue to resist we will take you away by force”. Shamsolvaezin has been summoned several times over the past few months and threatened by the judicial authorities and the intelligence ministry.

Mortaza Kazemian, journalist for several newspapers and reformist news websites, was arrested by men in plain clothes at his home in Tehran on 28 December. He was taken to an unknown location. Several cyber-feminists were also arrested. Mansoureh Shojaii, who contributes to womens’ rights websites, was arrested in the evening of 28 December. Her latest report, posted on the website http://www.feministschool.com/ dealt with the condition of women. She has been banned from leaving the country.

Reporters Without Borders has learned with dismay of the arrest at her home in Tehran on 28 December of the sister of Shirin Ebadi, Noushin, a professor at Tehran University. She has since 12 June 2009 come under heavy pressure from the Iranian authorities and had been summoned and threatened on several occasions.

In addition, Badrolssadat Mofidi, secretary general of the Association of Iranian journalist, Kivan Mehrgan, journalist on the daily Etemaad, Nassrin Vaziri, journalist for the news agency ILNA, and the reporter Abdolreza Tajik, previously detained on 14 June and freed on bail on 29 July, have also been arrested.

Finally, the journalist Mohammad Javad Saberi was arrested by plain clothes men outside Tehran University on 27 December. Neither the reasons for his arrest nor his place of detention is known.


23 December 2009 - Two releases and three arrests

The journalist and manager of the blog (http://mohammadnurizad.blogfa.com/), Mohammad Norizad, was arrested on 20 December after he answered a police summons. The previous evening, he had posted on his blog that he had been summoned - by telephone - for “insulting the head of the judiciary”. Tehran prosecutor’s office said in a statement released on 20 December that the journalist was under investigation for “publicity against the regime and insulting the authorities”. Since he did not have the funds to pay bail, he was held in custody.
The documentary maker and journalist worked for several years as a columnist on the daily Kayhan, the leading conservative publication. But following the contested re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president on 12 June 2009, he began to openly criticise the Supreme Leader of the Revolution, as well as the government and the Iranian justice system.

Several journalists were also arrested or physically assaulted on 20 December in various cities in the country (including Qom and Isfahan) by the security forces or pro-government militia, on the fringes of burial ceremonies for Ayatollah Montazeri. Two journalists working for the official news agency Mehr were arrested in Isfahan and taken to an unknown location.

Fariba Pajoh and Nafiseh Zareh Kohan were on 23 December released respectively after 120 and 50 days detention in section 209 of Evin prison. Pajooh, journalist for reformist newspapers and a contributor to international media such as Radio France International (RFI), had been arrested on 22 August 2009. She also runs the blog [http://www.after-rain.persianblog.i... ]. Kohan was working for several reformist newspapers before she was arrested with her husband on 4 November, during demonstrations marking the 30th anniversary of the storming of the US embassy in Iran in 1979. She was freed after paying bail of 100 million tomans (75, 000 euros).


3 december 2009 - Nine-year jail term for business journalist

Saeed Leylaz, the editor of the daily Sarmayeh, was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Tehran revolutionary court on 2 December on charges of participating in illegal demonstrations and keeping classified information.

A business specialist who has been very critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies, Leylaz was arrested on 17 June, five days after the president’s disputed reelection. Sarmayeh was closed by the authorities a month ago.

Referring to the classified information charge, his lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh-Tabatabaie, said that, as a reporter, his client had access to information that had been posted online and was not regarded under the law as classified. And as newspaper editor, he saw everyone and discussed the country’s economic situation.


1st December 2009 – Kurdish journalist released

Kurdish journalist Ako Kurdnasab was released on 30 November after paying bail of 30 million tomans (21,000 euros) while awaiting trial. Security forces arrested the journalist who worked for the weekly Karfto, which was banned in 2008, on 12 November 2009 after he took part in a demonstration against the execution of a young political prisoner in Sanandaj, Kurdistan. The journalist was arrested in 2007 and sentenced to six months in jail for “attempting to overthrow the regime through his journalistic activities” See the press releases on Ako Kurdnasab, dated 14 November 2007 and 4 January 2008.


30 November 2009 – Two released, one sentenced

Kaveh Javanmard was released on 21 November 2009 after completing a sentence at Sanandaj jail. The journalist, of the weekly Karfto, was sentenced to two years in prison by the second chamber of the Sanandaj court on 17 May 2007. After spending two years in detention in Maragheh, north-western Iran, he was transferred at the end of March 2009 to Sanandaj.

Fayaz Zahed, a member of the editorial management team of the suspended daily Etemad-e Melli, was released on 28 November, after spending 80 days in custody, when he put up bail of 100 million tomans (about 70,000 euros). He had been arrested in the street by men in plain clothes on 15 August before being taken to Tehran’s Evin prison. His lawyer, Nemat Ahamadi, said the journalist’s release was temporary while awaiting trial.

Henghameh Shahidi was, on the other hand, sentenced to six years and 32 days in prison by the 26th chamber of Tehran’s revolutionary court. The journalist and head of the blog Paineveste was arrested on 29 June. She spent 50 days in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Evin prison before being freed on 2 November 2009 after posting bail of nine million tomans (about 6,300 euros).

Her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafai, said the journalist had been convicted of “acting against national security”, “activities against the regime in collaboration with the BBC”, which is seen as a “counter-revolutionary channel”. She was also found guilty of signing petitions against the regime, including the Iranian feminist ‘one million signatures’ campaign, as well as the campaign against stoning and another urging the UN Human Rights Council to take up a position on the state of human rights in Iran. She was also convicted of writing articles deemed “insulting” to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on her weblog. Mostafai added that he would be lodging an appeal.


24 November 2009 - editor released but three newspapers suspended

Mohamad Atryanfar, editor of several newspapers including Hamshary, Shargh, and Shahrvand Emrouz, was bailed on 24 November in the sum of 500 million tomans (about 370 euros). His lawyer lodged an appeal after he was sentenced to six years in prison for “publicity against the regime” during a series of ‘show trials’ held in Tehran since August 2009. Since his arrest, on 15 June, at his home in Tehran, he has been held in the high security wing of Evin prison.

The daily Hamshary was suspended on 23 November, on the orders of the Press Authorisation and Surveillance Commission, which comes under the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance. The newspaper, which is owned by Tehran municipality, used a photo of a Baha’i temple in India to illustrate a travel advertisement, although the religion is banned in Iran and its followers persecuted. The closure of the newspaper was also linked to tension between different strands of Iran’s ruling conservatives. Mayor of Tehran, Mohamad Bagher Ghalibaf, former commander of the Revolutionary Guards, is a political rival of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Online news website Hamshahrionline reported that the ban on the paper had been revoked by Tehran’s justice system and the newspaper should reappear on 25 November.

At the same time, the daily Khabar, a conservative publication close to Ali Larijani, speaker of the Iranian Parliament, has halted publication of its print version. In the latest issue that came out on 19 November, its editor referred to “pressure coming from extremist supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad”. The newspaper continues to post articles online on http://www.khabaronline.ir/.

Finally, the weekly Aftab Lorestan has been suspended on the order of the Khoramabad city prosecutor after the paper, close to the director of the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance, carried a photomontage of Aladdin Boroujerdi, president of the national security committee of the Iranian parliament. The suspension is the result of a power struggle between different pro-government factions in the two cities of Lorestan province. Two other newspapers Paygham Brojerd and Bahar Brojerd, had already been suspended for the same reason.


20 November 2009 – Jail term for one journalist, another freed on bail

Kambiz Norrozi, a journalist and lawyer who heads the Association of Iranian Journalists legal committee, was sentenced by a Tehran revolutionary court on 17 November to two years in prison and 76 lashes on a charge of “anti-government publicity and disturbing the peace.” Arrested on 28 June, Norrozi was freed on bail two weeks later. His lawyer, Mahmood Alizadeh Tabatabai, intends to appeal.

Sayeed Shariti, a journalist who writes for several publications that support the Islamic Iran Participation Front, was freed on payment of bail yesterday after appearing before a Tehran revolutionary court. Arrested on 29 July on the orders of prosecutor general Sayeed Mortazavi, he is still awaiting trial.


9 November 2009 - A well-known cartoonist was released yesterday

Hadi Heidari, a well-known cartoonist who edits the Persian cartoon (http://www.haditoons.com) website, had been arrested in Tehran on 22 October while attending a religious tribute to political prisoners at the home of Shehaboldin Tabatabai, a leading supporter of the reformist party Participation, who was also arrested.


8 November 2009 - Release of Agence France-Presse correspondent Farhad Pouladi on 7th November, who was arrested on 4 November.

The official news agency IRNA and AFP’s Tehran bureau confirm that he was freed from Evin prison yesterday afternoon. But Niels Krogsgaard, a Danish journalism student who was arrested the same day, is still being held, the Iranian authorities say.


5 November 2009 - Arrests of journalists since disputed June election now top 100

Agence France-Presse correspondent Farhad Pouladi and Nafiseh Zareh Kohan, a journalist who writes for various pro-reform newspapers, were arrested yesterday in Tehran during demonstrations marking the 30th anniversary of the US embassy’s seizure. Hassin Assadi Zidabadi, a blogger who heads a student human rights committee, was arrested the day before.


30 October 2009 – Newspaper editor freed

Mohammad Ghochani, the editor of the daily newspaper Etemad-e Melli, was released at dawn today. He had been held since 18 June, when he was arrested in Tehran.


29 October 2009 – release of a journalist

Abolfazl Abedini Nasr was released on bail of 300 millions tomans (270,000 euros) on 26 October. He had been arrested on 30 June 2009.


23 October 2009 - Iranian cartoonist Hadi Heidari arrested

Renowned cartoonist Hadi Heidari who contributes to several reformist newspapers and heads the website Persian cartoon (www.haditoons.com) was arrested in the capital Tehran on the evening of 22 October. He was among several people arrested while taking part in a religious ceremony in honour of political prisoners, held at the home of Shehaboldin Tabatabai, one of the prisoners close to the reformist party, Participation. Some of them were released the following day but around a dozen others, including Heidari, were moved to Evin prison.

Heidari was cultural editor of the banned daily Etemad-e Melli. Editor of the newspaper, Mohammad Ghochani, a member of its editorial staff, Fayaz Zahed, and website editor, Mohammad Davari, are all still in prison.


4 October 2009 - Saeed Hajjarian freed

Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that journalist Saeed Hajjarian was freed on 30 September from Tehran’s Evin prison after paying bail. The former editor of the daily Sobh-e-Emrouz, Hajjarian was arrested at his Tehran home on the night of 15 June and was transferred to a military hospital on 3 July.

Following Khatami’s election as president in 1997, Hajjarian was editor of the now-closed daily Sobh-e-Emrouz, which supported Khatami’s reforms. After the newspaper exposed the involvement of intelligence officials in a series of murders of dissident intellectuals and journalists in 1998, he was the victim of a murder attempt in March 2000 that left him badly paralysed. He is seen as one of the strategists of the pro-reform movement.


14 September 2009 – Human rights lawyer, Shirin Ebadi ally, freed

Mohamed Ali Dadkhah, a human rights lawyer who was arrested in his Tehran office on 8 July, was released yesterday pending trial after paying 500 million toman (450,000 euros) in bail, his lawyer said. Dadkhah, who has defended many journalists and cyber-dissidents, helped Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi set up her Human Rights Defenders Centre.


11 September – Hunger striking journalist released from prison

At his lawyer’s request, detained journalist Mohammad Hassin Falahieh Zadeh was allowed out of prison on medical grounds on 9 September, a day after being transferred to the infirmary of Tehran’s Evin prison. See the 10 September release.

Reporters Without Borders points out that, since the disputed 12 June presidential election, those in charge of Tehran’s Evin prison have not been providing information about the situation of detainees to their families and lawyers.

Read the letter that journalist Jila Baniyaghoob wrote to her husband, Bahaman Ahmadi Amoi, when she was released from prison. Amoi is still being detained and is still being denied his rights.


7 September 2009 – Two journalists freed

Reporters Without Borders has learned that two journalists based in the northwestern city of Mahabad – Hassan Shikh Aghai, a reporter and cartoonist, and Ahamad Bahari, the editor of the monthly Mahabad – were freed on bail at the end of August pending trial. Aghai was arrested on 18 July while Bahari was arrested four days later.


6 September 2009 – Journalists summoned after signing open letter

Reporters Without Borders has learned that 15 journalists who signed an open letter to the new Tehran prosecutor-general have been summoned and threatened by the intelligence ministry.


4 September 2009 – Open letter to new prosecutor-general

Some 320 journalists and media workers have signed an open letter to the new Tehran prosecutor-general, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, calling for the release of detained journalists, permission for closed newspapers to resume publishing, and the reopening of the headquarters of the Journalists Association, closed since 2 July. The letter also urges Dolatabadi to end the repressive policies of his predecessor, Said Mortazavi.


27 August 2009 - Arrests continue despite releases

Fariba Pajooh, a journalist working for reformist newspapers, including Etemad-e Melli, and the news agency INLA, was arrested on 24 August and imprisoned at Evin jail after being summoned to the Teheran Revolutionary Court. She also ran a blog http://www.after-rain.persianblog.ir/.

Lawyer Abdolfatah Soltani, one of the founders of the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, who was arrested on 16 June, was released on bail in the sum of 100 million tomans (90,000 euros).

“Mr Soltani was initially accused of casting doubt on the election results, but he contested that such an accusation was a criminal matter”, said lawyer Mohammad Seifzadeh. “He was then accused of acting against national security and of making propaganda”. “We are hoping that these charges will be dropped, because they are groundless,” he added, also expressing hopes for an early release of another member of Mrs Ebadi’s organisation, the lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah. Ali Dadkhah was arrested on 8 July, one hour after being contacted by opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mussavi, who asked him to take on the defence of some of his imprisoned supporters.

At least 4,000 people were arrested during the demonstrations that followed the contested re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president on 12 June 2009. According to official figures, more than 300 are still behind bars. Around 160 have been brought before the revolutionary court since 1st August for their involvement in the demonstrations.

“They have cooked up a bizarre and incredible case against Dadkhah, claiming that a weapon and opium were found in his office,” said Seifzadeh. “He is innocent and should be freed unconditionally.”


24 August 2009 - Blogger Somayeh Tohidloo freed

Somayeh Tohidloo, the editor of the blog SMTO (http://smto.ir), was released on 22 August. She had been held in Section 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison after being arrested at her home on 14 June.


20 August 2009 - Online journalist Jila Baniyaghoob freed

Jila Baniyaghoob, the editor of Canon Zeman Irani (http://irwomen.net), a news website that focuses on women’s rights, was freed yesterday on payment of 100 million toman (90,000 euros) in bail. This year’s winner of the “Courage in Journalism” prize, which is awarded by the International Women’s Media Foundation, she was arrested at her home on 20 June together with her husband, Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee, who writes for various pro-reform publications. Although there has been no confirmed news of Amoee since his arrest, Reporters Without Borders has been told he is still in solitary confinement in section 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison.

Ahmad Zeydabadi, a journalist who was arrested on 14 June, has been hospitalised because of the effects of a hunger strike he pursued for 17 days. “I was kept in a cell that was like a tomb for 35 days, hearing nothing from outside, seeing no one,” Zeydabadi told his family. He only called off the hunger strike because a doctor in Evin prison told him no one knew about it. His family says it is very worried about his state of health.


5 August 2009 - 19:30 – Another arrest

Mehdi Yazdani Khoram, editor of the newspaper Etemad-e Melli’s arts and literature section, was arrested on the street by men in plain clothes this evening and was taken to an unknown location. He has a heart condition and was hospitalised last month. He used to work for pro-reform newspapers such as Shargh, Hammihan and Kargozaran, which were closed last year.


5 August 2009 - Two new arrests

Reza Norbakhsh, the editor of the daily Farhikhteghan, was arrested yesterday at his office in Tehran. Two of the newspaper’s journalists, Masoud Bastani and Esmail Hagh Parast, were arrested previously.

Mirhamid Hassanzadeh, the editor of the Ghalamnews website (http://www.ghalamnews.ir/), was also arrested yesterday morning at the headquarters of the ISNA news agency, which he used to run.

It is not yet known where either Norbakhsh or Hassanzadeh is being held.


3 August 2009 - Three releases

Fariborez Srosh, a Radio Farda reporter who was arrested on 16 June, was released on 29 June pending trial. Srosh previously spent several months in jail in connection with his work for Radio Farda.

Somaieh Nosrati, a reporter who covers parliament for the newspapers Teheran Emoroz and Hayat No, was freed on bail on 29 July, eight days after being arrested outside her home by intelligence ministry agents.

Mohammad Reza Yazdan Panah, a contributor to the pro-reform newspapers Shargh and Kargozaran (which was shut down in 2008), reported in his blog (http://booyekhaak.blogfa.com/) that he was released on 25 July. He was arrested outside his home on 7 July.

The daily newspaper Khabar Emrooz was unable to print it latest issue because of an article criticising today’s ceremony in which the Supreme Leader confirmed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection. It is the third time the newspaper has been prevented from bringing out an issue since the 12 June election, when a representative of the Tehran prosecutor general began checking all newspaper articles prior to publication.


31 July 2009

Documentary and film maker Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami was arrested on 29 July. She was detained at the same time as Mahnaz Mohammadi and Jafar Panahi during a demonstration in the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery, south of Teheran, in memory of demonstrators who have been killed in the past few weeks.


30 July 2009

Abdolreza Tajik, reporter on the newspaper Farhikhtegani, who was arrested on 14 June, was released yesterday after putting up bail. The Franco-Iranian journalist, Said Movahedi, who was arrested on 11 July, was freed on 28 July.

Said Shariti, a journalist working for several publications close to the reformist Participation Party, was arrested yesterday on the orders of the state prosecutor Said Mortazavi. He had already been arrested and held for 24 hours on 14 June.

Documentary and film maker, Mahnaz Mohammadi, was arrested on 29 July with the film director Jafar Panahi in the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in the south of the capital, Tehran, where a demonstration was being held in memory of the protestors who have been killed in recent weeks.

Reporters Without Borders has also learned of the arrest on 30 June of Abolfazl Abedini Nasr in the city of Ahvaz, in the south of Iran. He has only been able to get in touch with his family once since then.


28 July 2009 - Journalist released

Journalist and human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr, the joint editor of the Meydaan.com website, was released at 2 p.m. today after her father acted as her guarantor. She is charged with “activity against national security” and participating in the “riots.” In an interview, her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaia, said: “Shadi was interrogated while blindfolded for five days following her arrest. The questions had nothing to do with the charges brought against her. And she was in solitary confinement for three days.”


24 July 2009 - Seven Kurdish journalists held

Ahamad Bahari, the editor of the monthly Mahabad, was arrested on 22 July in the Kurdish northwestern city of Mahabad. Men in plain clothes searched his office and then took him away. It is not yet known where he is being held.

Bahari was the second Kurdish journalist to be arrested in the past week. Hassan Shikh Aghai was arrested on 18 July in Mahabad. A total of seven Kurdish journalists are now being held in prisons in various parts of Iran.


23 July 2009 – Two releases and a transfer

Two journalists were released today from section 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison. One was photographer Tohid Bighi, who works for Mashroteh, a website that supports former presidential candidate Mehedi Karoubi. He was arrested on 11 July. The other was Mojtaba Teherani, who works for the online newspaper Sahamnewes (http://www.etemademelli.ir/). He was arrested on the evening of 27 June.

Omid Salimi, a photographer who used to work for the local newspaper Nesf Jhan, was arrested in the city of Isfahan on 15 June after being summoned by the authorities to recover the equipment that Revolutionary Guards confiscated from him when he was arrested in December 2008. He was transferred from Isfahan prison to Evin prison in Tehran on 18 July.


21 July 2009

Reporters Without Borders has just learned of the arrest of Reza Rafiee Foroshani, a freelance journalist who works for local and international media including The Time Magazine. It has only now been reported that Foroshani was arrested on 26 June in Tehran and that he is being pressured by intelligence ministry agents to make some kind of confession.

Hassan Shikh Aghai, a leading Kurdish columnist and cartoonist, was arrested on 18 July in the city of Mahabad, in Iran’s Kurdish northwestern region, and his home was searched. It is not yet known why he was arrested and where he is now being held.

Mehdi Zaboli, a photographer with the newspaper Hamshahri who was arrested on 20 June, was freed on bail on 5 July.


20 July 2009

Kurdish columnist and cartoonist Hassan Shikh Aghai was arrested on 18 July in the city of Mahabad after a search of his home.

It was belatedly reported that Reza Rafiee Foroshani, a freelance journalist who works for local and international media including Time Magazine, was arrested on 26 June in Tehran.


17 July 2009

Plain-clothes agents arrested journalist and human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr, the joint editor of the Meydaan.com website, on 17 July using force and without showing any ID.

More than a million Iranians took to the streets to demonstrate during Friday prayers on 17 July but no local or international journalist was allowed to cover the event.


15 July 2009

Saeed Hajjarian’s wife, Vajieh Marsossi, and son were arrested, questioned and charged with “collaborating with counter-revolutionary groups.” The wife was released but the son was still being held. Exiled journalist Akbar Ganji, a family friend, said: “The aim of these arrests is to force Saeed Hajjarian to confess but, given his fragile health, it is a crime.”

Hajjarian was taken from prison to a hospital on the evening of 3 July


15 July 2009 - 39 journalists detained in Iran

List of the journalists detained since June 12

  • 13 July 2009, Koroush Javan
  • 11 July 2009, Marjan abdolahi
  • 11 July 2009, Satyar Emami
  • 11 July 2009, Majid Saidi
  • 11 July 2009, Tohid Bighi
  • 11 July 2009, Said Movahedi
  • 7 July 2009, Mohammad Reza Yazdan Panah
  • 4 July 2009, Issa Saharkhiz
  • 4 July 2009, Masoud Bastani
  • 29 June 2009, Henghameh Shahidi
  • 27 June 2009, Mojtaba Téhérani
  • 22 June 2009, Esmail Hagh Parast - Farhikhtegan
  • 21 June 2009, Somaieh Nosrati
  • 21 June 2009, Maziar Bahari - Newsweek
  • 20 June 2009, Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee
  • 20 June 2009, Jila Baniyaghoob - http://irwomen.net
  • 20 June 2009, Mehdi Zabouli - Hamshahri
  • 18 June 2009, Mohammad Ghochani - Etemad Meli
  • 17 June 2009, Saide Lylaz - Sarmayeh
  • 16 June 2009, Fariborez Srosh
  • 15 June 2009, Mohamad Atryanfar - Hamshary, Shargh, Shahrvand Emrouz
  • 15 June 2009, Saeed Hajjarian - Ex-editor of Sobh-e-Emrouz
  • 14 June 2009, Ahmad Zeydabadi
  • 14 June 2009, Kivan Samimi Behbani
  • 14 June 2009, Abdolreza Tajik
  • 14 June 2009, Mahssa Amrabad

Bloggers detained since June 12

List of journalists arrested before June 12 and still detained

  • 26 April 2009, Sajad Khaksari - Galam Moalem
  • 18 November 2008, Bahman Totonchi - Karfto
  • 7 August 2008, Massoud Kurdpoor - journaliste indépendant
  • 1st July 2007, Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand - Payam-e mardom-e Kurdestan
  • 25 January 2007, Adnan Hassanpour - Asou
  • 18 December 2006, Kaveh Javanmard - Karfto
  • 1st November 2006, Mohammad Hassin Falahieh Zadeh - Alalam

Bloggers detained before June 12


10 June – cyber-dissident arrested outside Tehran home

Kaveh Mozafari, a dissident journalist who writes for various websites, was arrested yesterday by men in plain-clothes as he was returning to his Tehran home with his ailing mother-in-law. The men threatened his mother-in-law as they took him away.

Arrested during demonstrations on 1 May in Tehran, Mozafari had been released just two weeks ago, on 24 June, after paying 50 million toman (45,000 euros) in bail.


9 July 2009 - Arrest of human rights lawyer, ally of Nobel peace laureate

Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrest of Mohamed Ali Dadkhah, a lawyer who represents many journalists and cyber-dissidents and who, together with Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, helped to set up the Human Rights Defenders Centre. He was arrested yesterday at his Tehran office along with several colleagues. There has been no word of them since then.

Mohammad Reza Yazdan Panah, a journalist who writes for the pro-reform newspapers Shargh, Kargozaran (closed by the authorities in 2008), Hammihan and Farhikhtegan and who keeps a blog (http://booyekhaak.blogfa.com/), was arrested at his Tehran home on 7 July and was taken to an unknown location.

“The authorities claim that they have released most of the people who were arrested during the opposition demonstrations but we can see that the arrests are continuing,” Reporters Without Borders said.

Mostafa Ghavnlo Ghajar, a journalist who was arrested at his home at midnight on 22 June, was released on 6 July. He writes for various newspapers, acts as Radio Goftogo’s “foreign media” specialist and keeps a blog (http://www.ghajar.ir/).

According to the Reporters Without Borders tally, a total of 35 journalists and bloggers are currently in prison in Iran.


6 July 2009

Reporters Without Borders has meanwhile learned that journalist Masoud Bastani was arrested on 4 July while trying to visit his wife, fellow journalist Massa Amrabadi, in Evin prison. Amrabadi was arrested on 14 June despite being pregnant.

Issa Saharkhiz, a pro-reform journalist and former editor of Aftab (a magazine suspended in 2004) and Eghtesah (a newspaper suspended in 2005), was also arrested on 4 July. He was beaten at the time of his arrest, which took place at his home. His family has had no word of him since then.

Reporters Without Borders welcomes yesterday’s release of Iason Athanasiadis-Foden, a British-Greek journalist employed by the Washington Times who was arrested at Tehran airport on 19 June as he was about to leave the country. Confirming his detention on 23 June, Iranian foreign minister Hassan Qashqavi said he was arrested for “reasons conflicting with journalism and in relation with the recent street riots.”

As far as Reporters Without Borders knows, he is the only non-Iranian journalist to have been jailed since the 12 June Iranian elections.


2 July 2009 - Intelligence ministry bans meeting of journalists

The authorities banned a meeting of journalists that the Association of Iranian Journalists had called for today to “protest against the arrests of journalists and against the military and security climate now reigning in the country.” The association sent the invitations out last week.

The association sent a second message telling journalists that the meeting had been cancelled for their own safety. The message also urged the judicial authorities, especially the Tehran prosecutor general, to respect the law and to change their practices as regards journalists and the news media.


30 June 2009 - 10am - Guardian website

Check the Guardian website that aims to put a face to each of those hundreds - possibly thousands - killed or arrested since the Iranian election.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2009/jun/29/iran-election-dead-detained


30 June 2009 - 9 am. Mojtaba Pormohssen, journalist on several reformist papers, contributor to radio Zamaneh and editor of the newspaper Gilan Emroz, arrested in Rashat in the north of the country on June 15th, was released on June 29.


29 June 2009 - 4pm. More journalists arrested, while others released

Reporters Without Borders has learned that Kambiz Norrozi, the head of the Association of Iranian Journalists’ legal committee, was arrested on 28 June and that Farhikhtegan journalist Esmail Hagh Parast was arrested on 22 June. Mojtaba Teherani, a journalist with the website Sahamnewes (http://www.etemademelli.ir/), was arrested on the evening of 27 June as he was leaving the newspaper. Intelligence ministry agents searched his home the next day, confiscating his computer and CD-Rom archives.

Other journalists and Association of Iranian Journalists representatives were summoned for questioning last week by the Tehran revolutionary court or the intelligence ministry, including Badrolssadat Mofidi, the association’s secretary-general, and Mashallah Shamsolvazein, its spokesperson. Although interrogated, they were not detained.

Reporters Without Borders has learned of the release of more than 20 journalists and media assistants. Alireza Behesti, who works with opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, and 22 employees of the newspaper Kalemeh Sabz, who were arrested on 22 June, were freed yesterday. Three of the newspaper’s news editors are still detained.

Karim Arghandeh, who writes for the pro-reform newspapers Salam and Vaghieh Etafaghieh and keeps a blog (http://www.futurama.ir/), was also released yesterday. Until then, there had been no news of him since 14 June.


26 June - 2pm.

Reporters Without Borders has learned of the arrest on 20 June of Mehdi Zabouli, journalist and photographer on the daily Hamshahri. He was injured during demonstrations following the disputed re-election of the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and taken to hospital. Other patients were arrested on the same day.


25 June 12.30pm.

President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pottering, said he planned to go to Iran, in response to an invitation from Nobel Peace Prize laureat, Shirin Ebadi. She told Reporters Without Borders, “At all the meetings I have had with officials from from the European Union, I demanded that they condemn the massive human rights violations in Iran. I also urged the UN Secretary General to send an investigative mission to the country. I insist on the fact that this is not a political conflict, but a fresh instance of mass human rights violations in Iran.”


24 June - 3pm. Two journalists, who were arrested on 16 June in the city of Bushehr in the south-west of Iran, Hamideh Mahhozi and Hossin Shkohi were released two days later, the organisation learned.

49 journalists, arrested since June 12, are still behind bars. With a total of 59 journalists in prison, Iran now has more journalists in jail than any other country in the world, ahead of China and Cuba.


24 June - 11am. Arresting an entire editorial staff is totally unprecedented!

All 25 staff on the newspaper Kalemeh Sabz, including around 20 journalists, were arrested on June 22. The paper, owned by opposition presidential candidate, Mir Hossein Moussavi, stopped publishing on 13 June although it was not officially banned. It had intended to resume appearing and to bring out a new issue on 23 June but on the evening of 22 June, plain clothes agents from Tehran’s prosecutor’s office surrounded the building and arrested everyone inside. The editor, Alireza Behshtipour Shirazi, and his son were also arrested the same evening. Minutes before his arrest Shirazi had confirmed the earlier arrest of his entire staff, in an interview with German radio Deutsche Welle.


23 June - 3pm.

Iasol Athanasiadis, Greek-British journalist on the Washington Times was arrested at the airport on June 2009.


23 juin - 12am.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, on 23 June urged the Iranian authorities to respect fundamental civil and political rights, including freedom of expression, the right to inform the public and of free assembly.


23 June - 11am.

Mostafa Ghavnlo Ghajar, a contributor to several newspapers and a specialist on foreign media on Radio Goftogo (see his blog : http://www.ghajar.ir/), was arrested at midnight on June 22 at his place.

Freelance journalist Fariborez Srosh was also reportedly arrested on 16 June. He has been imprisoned in the past because of his work with Radio farda (Radio Free Europe).


21 June - 3pm.

In the afternoon of 21 June, the BBC correspondent, Jon Leyne, has been ordered to leave the country within 24 hours. Officials accused him of “supporting rioters”. The authorities had previously accused Britain of “conspiring“ against Iran.

Correspondent for Newsweek, Maziar Bahari, arrested at 7am by security forces at his home on June 21 at 7am.


20 June - 3pm.

Ali Mazroui, president of the Iranian Association of journalists, arrested on June 20 in the morning.

Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee and his wife Jila Baniyaghoob arrested at their home on June 20at midnight, following a search by plain clothes agents of the intelligence ministry. Winner in 2009 of the Courage in Journalism prize, awarded by the International Women’s Media Foundation, Jila Baniyaghoob is head of a feminist news website Canon Zeman Irani (http://irwomen.net). Her husband Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee, works for several pro-reformist publications. .


19 June - 5pm.

Mohammad Ghochani, editor of the daily Etemad Meli, owner of Mehdi Karoubi, one of the candidates opposing Mahmoud Ahamadinejad in the presidential elections, arrested in Tehran on June 18 at 2am.


19 June - 3 pm.

Saide Lylaz, a business reporter for the newspaper Sarmayeh who has been very critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies, was arrested at his home in Tehran on June 17. His wife said she did not know where he had been taken.

Rohollah Shassavar, a journalist based in the city of Mashad, was also arrested on June 17.


19 June – 11 am. At least five more journalists arrested in provincial cities

It has emerged that four journalists were arrested in the southern city of Boshehr on 16 June:

  • Hamideh Mahhozi
  • Amanolah Shojai, who is also a blogger
  • Hossin Shkohi, who works for the weekly Paygam Jonob
  • Mashalah Hidarzadeh.

Several journalists and bloggers were among those arrested in the northern city of Rashat on 15 June. They include Mojtaba Pormohssen, who writes for several pro-reform newspapers, hosts a programme on radio Zamaneh and edits the newspaper Gilan Emroz. He was transferred yesterday to Lakan prison in Rashat.


17 June – 3 pm. Revolutionary Guard warns news websites

The Revolutionary Guard’s Organised Crime Surveillance Centre has written to the editors of websites ordering them to suppress “content inviting the population to riot and spreading threats and rumours.” Carrying today’s date, the communiqué says there have been “several cases of websites and personal blogs posting articles inciting disturbance of public order and inviting the population to rebel.”

The communiqué continues: “These sites, created with the help of American and Canadian companies, receive the support of media that are protected by the American and British security services such as the BBC, Radio Farda (Free Europe) and Radio Zamaneh.”

The Surveillance Centre adds that it will reveal important information in the coming days about these “destructive networks.”

In a communiqué last March, the Surveillance Centre announced for the first time that it had been trying to dismantle one of these “networks.” Several of its young editors were arrested and their “confessions” were released a few days later. As well as admitting to creating pornographic websites to “mislead” Iranian youth, they said their activities had been orchestrated by Americans and Israelis and that they had been paid well. Some of the sites concerned were pornographic, but other criticised Islam, religion and the regime.


17 June – 1 pm. Two new arrests

Saide Lylaz, a business reporter for the newspaper Sarmayeh, who had been very critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies, is arrested at his home in Tehran. His wife says she does not know where he has been taken.

It is reported that Mohamad Atryanfar, the publisher of several newspapers including Hamshary, Shargh and Shahrvand Emrouz, was arrested on 15 June and was taken to the security wing of Evin prison.

Reporters Without Borders has meanwhile received reports of many detainees being mistreated.


16 June – 6pm. Aldolfatah Soltani arrested

Aldolfatah Soltani, a lawyer who represents many imprisoned journalists and who is a member of the Human Rights Defenders Centre, is arrested on the orders of the Tehran revolutionary court and is probably taken to the security wing at Tehran’s Evin prison. Ten or so opposition activists, politicians and civil society figures have been arrested in the course of the day in Tehran and three other major cities – Tabriz, Ispahan, and Shiraz.


16 June – 4 pm. Foreign media forbidden to cover “illegal” demonstrations

The minister of culture and Islamic guidance, Mohammad Sfar Harandi, announces that “foreign news media are forbidden to attend or cover demonstrations that have been organised without the interior ministry’s permission.”

In practice, the authorities have been trying to prevent foreign journalists from covering the street protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s announced reelection “victory” since 13 June.

Reporter Yolanda Alvarez of Spanish state radio and TV broadcaster RTVE was expelled with all of her crew on 15 June. The Iranian authorities “asked us to leave the country today,” she said in a telephone interview for RTVE. “We are unwanted observers (…) they want to eliminate every kind of foreign media presence (…) the streets were totally taken over by anti-riot troops yesterday (…) If there hasn’t been any repression until now, it’s because they knew that we, the foreign journalists, were there.”

A member of a TV crew working for Italian state broadcaster RAI, a Reuters reporter and a France 3 journalist have been physically attacked by members of the security forces in Tehran. A BBC crew was threatened by police until demonstrators chased the police away. The correspondents of German TV stations ARD and ZDF were forbidden to leave their hotel rooms on 13 June. Two Dutch journalists working for the Nederland 2 TV station and a Belgian TV crew working for RTBF were arrested and expelled.


16 June – 3 pm. Well-known “Blogging Mullah” jailed

It is reported that Mohammad Ali Abtahi, also known as the “Blogging Mullah,” was arrested this morning at his Tehran home. A vice-president during Mohammad Khatami’s presidency, he had been acting as an adviser to Mehdi Karoubi, one of the opposition candidates in last week’s presidential election. The news of his arrest is posted on his blog Webneveshteh (http://www. Webneveshteha.com/). He is the second well-known blogger to be arrested since the election. The first was Somayeh Tohidloo (http://smto.ir), arrested on 14 June.


16 June – Former newspaper editor arrested

It is reported that, although seriously disabled, Saeed Hajjarian was arrested at his Tehran home during the night. Following Khatami’s election as president in 1997, Hajjarian was editor of the now-closed daily Sobh-e-Emrouz, which supported Khatami’s reforms. After the newspaper exposed the involvement of intelligence officials in a series of murders of dissident intellectuals and journalists in 1998, he was the victim of a murder attempt in March 2000 that left him badly paralysed. He is seen as one of the strategists of the pro-reform movement.

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