MONTREAL, June 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders is extremely
worried about the state of free expression in Iran, one week after the
announcement of the results of its presidential election. There is a danger
that today's endorsement of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection victory
by the Revolution's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, could aggravate the
The press freedom organisation therefore wrote today to the leaders of
the European Union's 27 member countries reiterating its call not to recognise
"If President Ahmadinejad does not agree to respect press freedom, he
must be made to see reason," the letter said. "A clear and unequivocal
rejection of the election results by European leaders could force Ahmadinejad
to yield. The nuclear stakes in Iran must not serve as a pretext for saying
nothing. This is not the time for timid or cautious statements."
"The European Union and its member countries must not falter in their
defence of freedom of expression," the letter continued. "No government would
have recognised the results of such a sham if it had taken place anywhere in
Europe. Must the normal standards be abandoned because it is Iran? That would
be a stab in the back for all the Iranian citizens who believed their ballot
could change their destiny."
Following today's address by the Supreme Leader, the UN High Commissioner
for Human Rights reminded the Iranian authorities of their obligations under
Iran has signed and ratified the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, which says that "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary
arrest or detention" (article 9), "everyone shall have the right to freedom of
expression" (article 19) and "the right of peaceful assembly shall be
recognized" (article 21).
At least 18 journalists have been arrested since 12 June. We are without
news of many others. With luck, some are holed up somewhere, waiting for
better days. The rest may well be in jail, with the journalists who have
already been there for some time. Iran was already the Middle East's biggest
prison for journalists before the presidential election. Now, with at least 30
journalists detained, it has become the world's second biggest prison for the
media, ahead of Cuba and just behind China.
Reporters Without Borders has been told that journalists and activists
held in Tehran's Evin prison are being put under a lot of pressure to make
filmed "confessions" acknowledging their "participation in a velvet
revolution." The press freedom organisation has also received many allegations
Eighteen journalists have been arrested in the week since the
presidential election results :
- Somayeh Tohidloo, who also keeps a blog (http://smto.ir)
- Ahmad Zeydabadi
- Kivan Samimi Behbani
- Abdolreza Tajik
- Mahssa Amrabad
- Behzad Basho, a cartoonist
- Khalil Mir Asharafi, a TV producer
- Karim Arghandeh, a blogger (http://www.futurama.ir/) and reporter for
pro-reform newspapers Salam, Vaghieh and Afaghieh, who was arrested at
his Tehran home.
- Mohamad Atryanfar, the publisher of several newspapers including
Hamshary, Shargh and Shahrvand Emrouz, who has reportedly been taken to
the security wing of Evin prison.
- Saeed Hajjarian, the former editor of the newspaper Sobh-e-Emrouz, who
was arrested at his Tehran home on the night of 15 June despite being
- Mojtaba Pormohssen, who edits the newspaper Gilan Emroz and contributes
to several other pro-reform newspapers and radio Zamaneh. He was
arrested in the northern city of Rashat.
- Mohammad Ali Abtahi, also known as the "Blogging Mullah," who was
arrested at his Tehran home. His blog: http://www.webneveshteha.com/.
- Hamideh Mahhozi, arrested in the southern city of Boshehr.
- Amanolah Shojai, who is also a blogger. Arrested in Boshehr.
- Hossin Shkohi, who works for the weekly Paygam Jonob. Arrested in
- Mashalah Hidarzadeh, arrested in Boshehr.
- Saide Lylaz, a business reporter for the newspaper Sarmayeh, who had
been very critical of Ahmadinejad's policies. He was arrested at his
- Rohollah Shassavar, a journalist based in the city of Mashad.
For further information:
For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)