Published on Friday 25 July 2014.
Mystery surrounds arrests of Washington Post correspondent, his wife and a Tehran-based photojournalist
The Washington Post said yesterday that it had received “credible reports” that its Tehran correspondent Jason Rezaian had been arrested, together with his Iranian journalist wife Yeganeh Salehi.
Rezaian, 38, who has dual US and Iranian nationalities, has been in post in Tehran since 2012. His wife works for the newspaper The National, based in the United Arab Emirates.
Also detained was a female Iranian-American
photojournalist, whose identity her family did not wish to disclose. She
was reported to work for several news organizations including the Washington Post. Her husband, who is not a journalist, was also arrested.
With 65 journalists and netizens in prison – five of
them foreign nationals — Iran is one of the world’s top five prisons for
those working in news and information.
According to information received by Reporters Without
Borders, all four were arrested at the same time by plain-clothes police
officers at their homes two days ago. No official reason was given for
the arrests or on whose authority they were detained, and it was not
known where they were being held.
He added: “We are now in the investigation phase. I
think we will be able to provide more information after technical
investigation and questioning.”
A US State Department spokesman told the Washington Post yesterday: “Our highest priority is the safety and welfare of U.S. citizens abroad”.
Reza Moïni, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan desk, said: “These journalists are accredited by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and are working legally in Iran”.
He added: “Arbitrary arrests, illegal summonses, for
example by intelligence officers of the Revolutionary Guards, are a
daily reality for journalists in Iran. Media workers, particularly
foreign journalists based in Tehran, are most often accused of spying.
They are the victims of a policy of demonizing the foreign media, which
is aggravated by the settling of scores among different groups engaged
in a power struggle.”