Thursday, March 26, 2009

IFEX - News from the international freedom of expression community
UPDATE - IRAN 26 March 2009
Journalist Roxana Saberi may remain in prison for prolonged period
SOURCE: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York (CPJ/IFEX) -
The following is a 25 March 2009 CPJ press release:
Report says Saberi may be held for prolonged period New York, March 25, 2009 -
The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmedby a news report indicating that Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberimight remain in prison for a prolonged period. In a telephone conversationwith her father, Saberi said a prosecutor told her she would remain indetention for "months or even years," The New York Times reported today. "We are very deeply concerned by the circumstances of Roxana Saberi'sdetention," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program CoordinatorMohamed Abdel Dayem. "She continues to be held without charge, whileofficials have offered shifting reasons for her detention." Saberi was detained in January. Since then, Iranian officials have issuedconflicting explanations for the detention. Initially, Saberi told herfamily that she was apparently being held for buying wine. A few dayslater, a spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry stated that Saberi was detained for reporting without proper accreditation. The next day, aspokesman for the Iranian judiciary confirmed that she was being held inTehran's notorious Evin Prison, where political prisoners are frequentlyjailed. He added that she was being held in accordance with a writ issuedby the Revolutionary Court, but he would not reveal the reasons for thedetention. "We are particularly concerned about Saberi's physical and mental health,especially in light of where she is being held," CPJ's Abdel Dayem said. At least two journalists have died at the prison in last six years insituations that have not been fully explained.
Omidreza Mirsayafi, anIranian blogger serving a 30-month sentence on a charge of insulting religious figures, died at Evin Prison last week under mysterious circumstances. In 2003, Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi died from a brain hemorrhage that resulted from a beating at Evin Prison.
An intelligence agent charged in the killing was acquitted after a flawedtrial. Kazemi had been jailed because she took photographs outside theprison. More than 10,000 people worldwide signed a CPJ petition expressing deepconcern about the detention. CPJ presented the petition to the IslamicRepublic of Iran's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. The Committee to Protect Journalists is a New York-based, non profit,non-partisan organization dedicated to defending press freedom around theworld. Updates the Saberi case:
For further information on the Omidreza MirSayafi (Mir-Sayafi) case, see:
For further information on the Zahra Kazemi case, see:
For further information, contact Mohamed Abdel Dayem (x103) or MariwanHama-Saeed (x104) at CPJ, 330 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10001, U.S.A.,tel: +1 212 465 1004, fax: +1 212 465 9568, e-mail:,,, Internet:
The information contained in this update is the sole responsibility of CPJ.In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit CPJ.

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