Iran - Nine women, including five journalists, arrested in latest attempt to intimidate cyber-feminists

    MONTREAL, June 13 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders condemns the
government's continuing persecution of cyber-feminists - women who use online
publications to defend their rights. Nine were arrested yesterday for
organising a meeting in Tehran to commemorate a big demonstration they staged
two years ago, on 12 June 2005. They were all released this morning.
    "The authorities have tried yet again to intimidate women who are just
demanding their rights," Reporters Without Borders said. "The way the
government is hounding them, and keeping some of them under surveillance, is
an indication of its fear of the scale of this movement."
    Yesterday's meeting - to mark the second anniversary of the biggest
feminist demonstration ever held in the capital - was banned in advance and
security forces were stationed outside the auditorium where it was due to take
    The nine women arrested included five online journalists: Jila Bani
Yaghoub of the daily Sarmayeh and the Canon Zeman Irani
( website, Jelveh Javaheri of the Change for Equality
( website, who was already arrested at the end of
2007, Aida Saadat of the daily Etemad and Change for Equality, Farideh Ghayb
of Canon Zeman Irani and Sara Loghmani of Canon Zeman Irani and Change for
Equality. Their lawyer, Nasrine Satoudeh, was also arrested.
    The police went to the home of Change for Equality editor Parvin Ardalan,
who was given a two-year suspended prison sentence by a Tehran court on 2 May,
but she was not there and they were unable to arrest her. The same morning,
they also went to the home of Sussan Tahmassebi, who edits the
English-language pages of Change for Equality.
    The 12 June 2005 demonstration on Tehran's Hafte Tir Square was organised
by these women using the Internet. They also launched a campaign for "A
million signatures to obtain the reform of laws that discriminate against
    At least 14 websites that defend women's rights were blocked by the
authorities last month. Some ISP representatives told Reporters Without
Borders on condition of anonymity that they are now getting a list of sites to
be banned every day. "This is not new, but the frequency of these lists
indicate a significant reinforcement of online control," one source said.
    Iran is one of the world's most repressive countries towards bloggers and
is on the Reporters Without Borders list of Internet Enemies. It was ranked
166th out of 169 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders world press
freedom index.
    The 2008 annual report on press freedom in Iran

    Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press
freedom throughout the world. It has nine national sections (Austria, Belgium,
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). It has
representatives in Bangkok, London, New York, Tokyo and Washington. And it has
more than 120 correspondents worldwide.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive director,
Reporters without borders Canada, (514) 521-4111,

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