IRAN WATCH CANADA

Sunday, November 11, 2007

ALERT - IRAN
9 November 2007
One journalist imprisoned, two publications suspended
SOURCE: Reporters sans frontières (RSF), Paris
(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders regrets that Iran continues to snub
appeals from the international community on human rights, as one journalist
was imprisoned and two publications suspended.
"Less than a week after the European Parliament passed a resolution urging
Iran to respect its "obligations in line with international norms and
instruments on human rights", Yaghoub Salaki Nia was imprisoned at Evin
jail in Tehran. His arrest on 31 October 2007 brought to ten the number of
journalists imprisoned in the country," the worldwide press freedom
organisation said.
"Iran remains deaf to appeals from the international community aimed at
establishing a real dialogue on human rights," the organisation said.
"Journalists are being held in custody without charge in defiance of the
most basic rights. Some of them are suffering as a result of their prison
conditions and need medical attention which has been denied to them," it
added.
On 31 October, Intelligence ministry agents arrested freelance journalist
Yaghub Salaki Nia, a contributor to several banned media, including
"Shamesse Tabriz", "Ahrar" and "Omid Zanjan". His house was searched and
his work equipment and papers were seized. The journalist has also founded
an organisation dedicated to the defence of political prisoners in the
Iranian province of Azerbaijan. He was taken to Evin jail and it is not
known what charges he faces. His family was able to visit him on 5
November, in the presence of prison warders and on the condition they did
not discuss the issue of his imprisonment.
Elsewhere, the Authorisation and Surveillance Commission of the Press on 23
September, suspended political monthly "Dilmaj", founded in 2004, but no
reason was given. The quarterly "Madresseh" was suspended on 5 November for
"apostasy". The philosophical review had published an interview in its
latest edition with an intellectual cleric, Mohammad Mojtahed Shabestari,
who carries out research into the Koran. Iranian leaders took the view that
his remarks were "insulting of sacred texts".
The European Parliament voted a resolution on 25 October condemning Iranian
human rights violations. The European Union (EU) recognised that "the
situation in the Islamic Republic in relation to civil rights and political
freedoms has deteriorated in the last two years, particularly since
presidential elections in June 2005", the date on which Mahmud Ahmadinejad
came to power. The EU also called for the "unconditional release of
prisoners of conscience, particularly journalists Emadoldin Baghi, Ako
Kurdnasab, Ejlal Ghavami, Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand, Said Matinpour, Adnan
Hassanpour, Abdolvahed Botimar, Kaveh Javanmard and Mohammad Hassan
Fallahieh".
Ten journalists are currently in jail in Iran. Among them Said Matinpour, a
contributor to the weekly Azeri-language "Yarpagh" who is being held at the
intelligence services prison in his home city of Zanjan, 330 kilometres
north-west of the capital, where he is waiting to learn what he is accused
of. He was previously held at Evin prison but was transferred closer to his
family. Since his arrest on 28 May, the journalist, who has been held in
solitary confinement, has only been able to see his parents twice. His wife
and his lawyer have so far been refused the right to visit him. His wife,
Atieh Hidary, told Reporters Without Borders that she was "very worried
about his health".
Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand, editor of the weekly "Payam-e mardom-e
Kurdestan", is suffering from kidney and digestive problems and has to make
a written request to the prison authorities to be allowed to use the
toilet. Reporters Without Borders has obtained information that he has been
put under huge pressure to deny reports published by the Human Rights
Organisation of Kurdistan, of which he is a founding member. Mohammad
Sadegh Kabovand is facing trial for "acting against national security".
Emadoldin Baghi, journalist and human rights activist, also held at Evin
prison, since 14 October has been able to receive visits from his family.
They have reported that the journalist, who is in solitary confinement, is
being subjected to "brutal interrogation" by intelligence ministry agents.
Emadoldin Baghi has so far refused to respond to their questions and has
demanded to be tried by a popular jury. He is accused of "publishing secret
government documents with the help of detained prisoners to damage security
in special establishments".
Iran is in 166th place out of 169 countries on Reporters Without Borders'
latest world press freedom rankings of October 2007.
For further information contact Hajar Smouni, RSF, 47, rue Vivienne, 75002
Paris, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 84, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51, e-mail:
mideast@rsf.org, Internet: http://www.rsf.org/
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of RSF.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit RSF.
***
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