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Iran- Annual Report 2004

          
          8/6/2010 Reporters Sans Frontières
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          Published on 3 May 2004
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          Iran - Annual Report 2004
          Iran remains in a dramatic and paradoxical press freedom situation. It is the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East, with harsh censorship
          but also a prolific and vigorous written press that is clearly helping the growth of civil society. This press mirrors the split between the regime's
          reformists and hard liners, who are part of a unique regime headed by the hardline Supreme Guide of the Republic, Ayatollah All Khamenei, and a
          reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, who does not have much power.
          The hardline press, inspired by Islamic revolution and backing Khamenei, coexists with the reformist newspapers, which emerged in 1997 after
          President Khatami was elected. There is no opposition media in the traditional sense but genuine debate goes on between the two sides.
          All written material is closely monitored, especially by the Supreme National Security Council (chaired by Khatami but controlled by the hardliners)
          which each week sends all newspapers a list of banned subjects, such as (in 2003) the 1999 student demonstrations, resumption of talks with the
          United States, the murder of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi and anything about nuclear weapons agreements. But reporting what Iranian politicians
          say about these topics is sometimes possible. However, any discussion of them is strictly forbidden. Many papers, including hardline ones, have been
          suspended by the Council.
          The bane of the reformist press is Judge Said Mortazavi, who is under the orders of the all-powerful head of the judiciary, Abbas All Alizadeh, who
          has been assigned by the Supreme Guide to get stamp out press freedom. Mortazavi was named chief prosecutor of Teheran on 20 May 2003 after
          long being head of court no.1410, known as ‘the press court” and notorious for its suspension of dozens of newspapers since April 2000.
          In 2003, he suspended many papers and also imprisoned journalists, who were often tried in secret and held for months in solitary confinement, as
          the head of a visiting UN working party, Louis Joinet, and the UN Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Ambeyi Ligabo, both noted. Journalists called
          for Mortazavi's dismissal on 8 August.
          In February, supreme court judge Ayatollah Mohammad Sadegh al-Essehagh ruled that the law used since 2000 to shut down nearly 100
          newspapers was illegal. As well as being harassed by the judiciary, the press was targeted by the intelligence ministry, which summoned more than
          30 journalists for questioning during the year. Some journalists were very often only freed from jail conditionally, were subject to heavy pressure and
          threatened with reimprisonment to complete the rest of their sentence.
          Tension increased with the death on 10 July of Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who had been jailed in Teheran's Evin prison after
          being arrested for taking pictures of prisoners' families outside the notorious jail. The case, which the authorities first tried to cover up, showed the
          world how the justice system operates in Iran and revealed the conditions of detention of political prisoners.
          The investigation, entrusted to the criminal branch of Mortazavi's office, also showed the fierce hostility between the reformists and hardliners. An
          intelligence ministry agent was accused of murdering her by the justice ministry in a bid to absolve Mortazavi, who was strongly suspected of
          involvement in the killing. Impunity seems likely to win the day once again, as in the case ofa number of journalists and intellectuals murdered in
          1998.
          A journalist killed
          Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was arrested on 23 June 2003 as she was taking pictures of prisoners' families outside the Evin
          prison north of Teheran. She was beaten in detention, fell into a coma and on 27 June was taken to the city's Baghiatollah Hospital, where she died,
          officially on 10 July. After trying to cover up the cause of death, the authorities, in the person ofVice-PresidentAliAbtahi, admitted on 16 July that
          she had been “beaten.”
          Her body was hastily buried on 22 July in the southern town of Shiraz, despite her mother, who lives in Iran, asking for the body to be sent to
          Canada. She admitted on 30 July being pressured to allow burial in Iran. Canada has insisted the body be handed over to Kazemi's Canadian son
          Stephan, as he has requested.
          Some members of parliament accused judiciary of being responsible for Kazemi's death. The culture and Islamic guidance ministry's foreign press
          chief, Mohammad Hussein Khoshvaght, admitted in a letter in the media on 24 July that Teheran prosecutor Said Mortazavi had forced him to say she
          had died of a brain haemorrhage. Mortazavi reportedly accused him of issuing a press visa to Kazemi, who he said was a spy.
          Reformist MP Mohsen Armin said Mortazavi ‘ordered a story to be told that she had died of a brain haemorrhage and asked her family to bury her
          quickly.' He said she had told police who interrogated her that she had been hit on the head. Vice-President Abtahi spoke on 30 July ofa ‘murder.'
          The judiciary spokesman, Gholamhossein Elham, admitted on 11 August she had died after being hit on the head but said individuals, not
          institutions, were to blame. However, torture does not seem rare in Iranian prisons.
          The criminal branch of Mortazavi's office, headed by investigating judge Javad Esmaeli, presented its report on 22 September, clearing all state
          institutions of blame for Kazemi's death and accusing an unnamed intelligence ministry agent who had interrogated her. The agent was charged with
          ‘semi-intentional' murder, implying that he hit Kazemi without intending to kill her.
          The intelligence ministry, controlled by the reformists, vehemently denied one of its people was involved and threatened to reveal evidence
          implicating Mortazavi's office. The power struggled between reformists and hardliners is blocking efforts to get at the truth and makes more
          necessary than ever an independent and impartial enquiry including international experts, as Canada has demanded. In October, lawyer Shirin
          Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, agreed to represent Kazemi's mother.
          New information about journalists killed before 2003
          The murder in late 1998 of a group of intellectuals and regime opponents - among them Daryush and Parvaneh Foroohar, symbolic figures of the
          liberal opposition, Majid Sharif, a columnist with the monthly Iran-e Farda, and writers and journalists Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Jafar
          Pouyandeh - deeply shocked Iranians and outraged much of the reformist media. The authorities reacted by opening an investigation and in January
          1999 the intelligence ministry officially admitted some its agents had been involved and announced the arrest of dozens of suspects.
          Pirooz Davani, editor of the newspa per Pirooz who disappeared in late Aug ust 1998 and whose body was never found, was also among the victims.
          In January 2001, three intelligence ministry agents were sentenced to death and 12 others to prison terms for murdering the Foroohar couple. Three
          other people were acquitted. The supreme court confirmed the sentences in late January 2003. The victims' families complained that those who
          ordered the killings were still free and, after a rally of 5,000 people in late November to mark the killings, they formally asked the UN Human Rights
          Commission to investigate.
          Three journalists physically attacked
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          Hassan Raghifar, ofthe regional weeklyAsan, was kidnapped by four strangers on 16 August 2003, interrogated about his work, tortured for two
          hours and then freed. The paper had printed articles about the arrest ofjournalists.
          Severaijournalists, including Negareh Babakhani ofthe daily Hambastegi, were beaten by police and civilian activists during student demonstrations
          in June.
          Freelance journalist Peyman Pakmehr, was attacked and kidnapped on 2 July by four Islamist militiamen after he had sent a story to a foreign-
          based Iranian radio station. He returned home two days later.
          43 journalists imprisoned
          Akbar Ganji, ofthe daily Sobh-e Emrooz, was arrested on 22 April 2000 after appearing before the press court. He was accused of revealing details
          of the murder of intellectuals and regime opponents in late 1998 and ofwriting articles supporting dissident cleric Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri,
          under house arrest since 1989.
          He was also accused oftaking part in a Berlin conference, held in April 2000 to discuss reforms in Iran, that was considered anti-Islamic by the
          authorities. At one hearing, he said he had been tortured in prison. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail on 13 January 2001. In May that year it was
          reduced on appeal to six months, but on 15 July, the supreme court cancelled the reduction because of supposed technical errors and imposed a six-
          yearjail sentence. Until 2003, Ganji was allowed out of prison several times for a few days after posting high sums as bail. In July 2003, his family
          voiced concern about his health and said he had been refused medicalcare. He was hospitalised in Teheran in late Novemberand released on
          medical grounds on 23 December.
          HassanYussefi Eshkevari, a theologian and contributorto the monthlylran-efarda, was arrested on 5 August 2000 and sent to Teheran's Evin
          prison after his home had been searched. He had gone to Europe in April to attend the Berlin conference and get treatment for his diabetes.
          At his trial, held in secret before the special religious court from 7 to 15 October that year, he was accused of undermining national security, defaming
          the authorities, undermining the reputation of the clergy and of being a “mohareb” (“fighter against God'). On 12 October 2002, he was called
          before the court and told he had been sentenced to seven years in prison - four years for saying that wearing the veil and other Islamic dress codes
          for women had cultural and historic roots in Iran and were not a necessity for Islam, one yearforattending the Berlin conference and two years for
          “spreading false news.'
          Behrooz Gheranpayeh, head of the National Institute of Public Opinion and a journalist with the now-closed daily paper Nowrooz, was arrested on
          16 October 2002 and sent to Evin prison, accused of spying and collaborating with the Mujahideen exiled armed opposition. He was freed on 16
          January 2003 on bail of 1.3 billion rials (130,000 euros).
          Hossein Ghazian, a director of the Ayandeh public opinion institute and a journalist with Nowrooz, was arrested on 31 October 2002 and sent to Evin
          prison.
          Abbas Abdi, a nother Aya nd e h director, ex-ed itor of the daily Salam and former staff member of many reformist newspapers, was arrested at his
          home on 4 November 2002. Press court Judge Said Mortazavi accused Ayandeh of receiving money from the US polling firm Gallup ‘or from a foreign
          embassy.”
          Gheranpayeh, Gazian and Abdi were each sentenced at a secret trial on 6 January 2003 to four years in prison for ‘passing information to enemy
          countries,' and six months for ‘making propaganda against the Islamic regime.' Associates said they feared their supposed confessions meant they
          had been submitted to very strong psychological pressure. The sentences were confirmed on appeal in mid-April.
          Alireza Eshraghi, Hamid Ghazvini and Rahman Ahmadi, of the daily Hayaf-e Now, were arrested on 12 January 2003 after the paper four days
          earlier printed a 1937 US newspaper cartoon about the pressure exerted by then-President Franklin Roosevelt on the US Supreme Court,
          represented by a bearded, black-robed old man resembling the Islamic regime's founder, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It was printed
          alongside an interview with a social science professor about ‘social collapse” in Iran. The paper was closed the day before they were arrested.
          Ghazvini was freed after a few hours, Rahman on 13 January and Eshraghi on 9 March.
          Mohsen Sazgara, one of the founders of the reformist press and editor of the Internet website www.alliran.net was arrested at his home on 18
          February by plainclothes police, his home and office searched and many documents seized. The previous week, he had posted on the website a call
          for constitutional reform and said the Iranian people had been taken hostage by the Council of Guardians, which is controlled by the hardliners, its
          members named by the Supreme Guide, Ayatollah All Khamenei, and which oversees elections and checks all legislation to ensure it complies with
          Islamic law.
          He wrote that the past five years had shown the religious regime could not be reformed or be efficient and he called Khamenei a dictator. He was
          freed on 22 February and on 3 June banned from leaving the country. On 2 June he was summoned to the intelligence ministry, where he was told a
          recent law approved by the Supreme National Security Council had banned some people from speaking to foreign-based Persian-language media.
          The exit ban may have been punishment for his talking on foreign radio stations.
          He was arrested again on 15 June during student demonstrations. His family posted bail of six billion rials (600,000 euros at the official rate) but he
          was not released. He has staged two hunger-strikes in prison, of 56 and 23 days, despite serious heart problems. He was charged by the Teheran
          revolutionary court with undermining national security and “insulting the Supreme Guide' and sentenced to a year in prison on 27 September at a
          secret trial. He was freed on 6 October.
          Kambiz Kaveh, of the film magazines Sinema-ye iahan, Majaleh-ye Film, Donia-ye Tasvirand Sinema-e Now, and Said Mostaghasi, of the weekly
          Haftehnameh-ye Sinema, were arrested at their homes on 26 February, taken away and the houses searched. They were freed on 10 April.
          Mohammad Abdi, editor of the monthly Honar-e 1 -laftom, and Amir Ezati, of the monthly Mahnameh-ye Film, were arrested on 28 February. Abdi was
          freed on 14 April and Amir Ezati, accused of translating and distributing in Iran Salman Rushdie's book “Satanic Verses,” on 30 June. Ezati had spent
          60 days in solitary confinement.
          Film music critic Yasamin Soufi was arrested on 1 March and taken to an unknown place when she answered a summons by the Teheran police's
          Adareh Amaken section, which deals with ‘moral' offences and is close to the intelligence ministry. She was freed on 4 March, arrested again on 17
          March and freed on 20 March.
          Ali-Reza Jabari, a translator and freelance contributor to several independent newspapers, including Adineh, was arrested on 17 March and
          sentenced on 19 April to four years in prison, 253 lashes and a fine of six million rials (600 euros) for ‘consuming and distributing alcoholic drinks'
          and for ‘adultery and incitement to immoral acts.” Such charges are routine against non-religious people. On 17 June, the sentence was reduced on
          appeal to three years. In fact, he was being punished for belonging to the Writers' Association and sending material to foreign-based news
          websites, especially articles defending a jailed lawyer, Nasser Zarafshan.
          Behzad Khorshidi, editor of the monthly Piramoon, was arrested on 29 March and taken to a secret place after being summoned byAdareh Amaken
          and accused of criticising the regime's cultural policies and having links with journalist Siamak Pourzand. He was released on 13 May. He had earlier
          been arrested on 17 March in the same circumstances and freed a few days later.
          Siamak Pourzand, often heard on US-based opposition radio stations, was arrested on 30 March and taken to Evin prison. He had been
          conditionally freed from jail in early December 2002, a device sometimes used by the judiciary in response to international pressure. Ajournalist thus
          freed has no official document certifying release and can be rearrested and jailed at any time.
          Pourzand, also head of a Teheran cultural centre, had been arrested on 24 November 2001 and sentenced to eight years in prison in May 2002 for
          ‘undermining state security' and ‘having links with monarchists and counter-revolutionaries.' The court said it had taken into account his confession
          of guilt. He had admitted all the charges and said he did not have to defend himself. His family said they were worried that psychological pressure
          while in prison had forced him to confess. The Teheran appeal court upheld the sentence in May 2002.
          Ahmad Zeid-Abadi, of the daily Hamshahri, appeared in court on 13 April and was sent to Evin prison. He had been sentenced on appeal on 10
          March to eight months in jail for ‘anti-regime propaganda' and five for ‘publishing false news.' He was also banned for five years from ‘public and
          social activity,' including journalism. He was freed on 6 October.
          Sina Motallebi, of the reformist daily Hayat-e Now and editor of the website www.rooznegar.com, was arrested on 20 April after being summoned
          the previous day by Adareh Amaken, the latest of a series of summonses. After the paper was closed in January, he had revived the website and
          used it to defend one of the paper's journalists, Alireza Eshraghi, who had been arrested on 11 January. The website had angered some legal
          officials and also reformists, who he criticised for their silence about the arrests of journalists. He was accused of ‘undermining national security by
          cultural activity.' He was freed on 12 May.
          Taghi Rahmani, of the weekly Omid-e Zangan, Hoda Saber, of Iran-e farda, and Reza Alijani, Iran-e farda's editor and winner of the Reporters
          Without Borders - Fondation de France Prize in 2001, who had been given heavy jail sentences in May but not arrested, were detained on 14 June
          and accused of having secret meetings with students who had staged anti-regime demonstrations that month. They were arrested on the orders of
          Judge Mortazavi.
          Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Elham said on 15 October that three lournalists ‘were servinq a prison sentence' but did not say why, or where
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          and when they were tried. They were reportedly tried in secret on 15 September and kept in solitary confinement until 30 October. In May, the
          Teheran revolutionary court had sentenced Rahmani to 11 years in jail, Alijani to six and Saber to 10. All three were stripped of political rights for 10
          years.
          Amin Bozorgian, editor of the daily Golestan-e Iran, was arrested on 15 June and accused of inciting students to revolt. He was freed a month later.
          Au Akrami, of the suspended reformist daily Nedat Eslahat, was arrested on 16 June and released on 9 July.
          Ensafali Hedayat, of the daily Salam, was reporting on a demonstration at Tabriz University (northern Iran) on 16 June when he arrested by
          strangers who accused him of inciting students to revolt. He was freed on 14 July after three weeks in solitary confinement.
          Freelance journalist Amir Teirani and Mohamed Reza Bouzeri, of the daily Golestan-e Iran, were arrested on 16 and 18 June respectively for
          allegedly inciting students to demonstrate. Bouzeri was freed on 20 July. Teirani, who was kept in solitary confinement and under strong
          psychological pressure to force him to confess to having secret documents, was released on 15 September.
          Iraj Jamshidi, editor of the financial daily Asia, and his wife Saghi Baghernia, the paper's managing editor, were arrested on 6 July for “anti-regime
          propaganda.” The day before, the paper had printed a picture of Maryam Rajavi (wife of Massud Rajavi, the well-known leader of the People's
          Mujahideen group), who was arrested in France on 17 June. Baghernia was freed on 7 July and the paper suspended.
          Esmail Jamshidi, of the monthly Gardon and brother of Iraj Jamshidi, was arrested without explanation on 7 July. He was freed on 31 August.
          Hossein Bastani, Vahid Pourostad and Said Razavi Faghi, of the reformist daily Yas-e no, and Shahram Mohamadi-Nia, editor of the weekly Vaght,
          were summoned on 11 and 12 July by Teheran prosecutor Said Mortazavi and imprisoned. Yas-e no had reported on 10 July that the intelligence
          ministry had ordered it not to run a series of articles about demonstrations on 9 July. Bastani and Pourostad were released on 20 July and Faghi was
          freed on bail on 25 September after spending nearly 80 days in solitary confinement. Mohamadi-Nia, who was accused of printing an “unsuitable”
          photo and article, was freed on 16 July.
          Iraj Rasteghar, editor of the suspended weekly Tavana, was arrested on 12 July as part of legal proceedings against the paper. He was freed on
          bail on 16 July.
          Freelance journalist Arash Salehi was arrested the same day in the street in Teheran and released a month later.
          Hossein Farrokhi, editor of the monthly Sinema-Teatre, was arrested on 15 July and accused of printing pictures of women that did not conform to
          the Islamic republic's dress code. He was freed on bail on 17 July.
          Abolgasem Golbaf, editor of the monthly Gozaresh, was arrested on 20 July for “anti-regime propaganda” and “publishing false news.” He was
          released on 9 October on bail of 400 million rials (40,000 euros).
          Arash Noporshian (cartoonist) and Mohammad-Amin Golbaf and Nader Karimi (journalists), of the monthly Gozaresh, were arrested on 26 July after
          failing to pay money to the judiciary for unknown reasons. They were freed on 3 August.
          Au Reza Ahmadi, of the financial dailyAsia, was summoned and jailed on 28 July in Evin prison, where he was put in solitary confinement.
          Behzad Zarinpour, editor of Asia, was summoned by a Teheran court on 7 September and a few hours later plainclothes agents searched his home.
          His family had no news of him for a week until on 13 September officials announced he was in jail. He was freed on 5 October.
          Three journalists imprisoned before 2003 were freed
          Emadoldin Baghi, of the daily Fat / i, was freed on 6 February 2003. He had been arrested on 29 May 2000 after a hearing before the press court. On
          17 July that year he was sentenced to five years in prison for “undermining national security” and “spreading false news” in a September 1999
          editorial in the daily paper Neshat in which he advocated a modern approach by Islam to the death penalty. The Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran)
          and former intelligence ministerAli Fallahian had filed complaints against him. His sentence was cut to three years by an appeal court on 23 October
          2000. In early June 2003, he was summoned by a Teheran court and told he could not leave the country.
          Bijan Safsari, editor of the daily Seda-ye Edalat and owner of the daily Azad, was freed on 28 May 2003 after being arrested in late November 2002.
          Azad had been suspended in July 2002 and Safsari accused by the press court of continuing to work as a journalist on Seda-ye Edalat afterAzad was
          suspended. He was stripped of his civil rights.
          Behrooz Gheranpayeh, head of the National Institute of Public Opinion and a journalist with the now-closed daily paper Nowrooz, was freed on 16
          January 2003 on bail of 1.3 billion rials (130,000 euros). He had been arrested on 16 October 2002 and sent to Evin prison, accused of spying and
          collaborating with the Mujahideen exiled armed opposition.
          A cyber-dissident imprisoned
          Javad Tavaf, a student leader and the editor of the popular news website Rangin Kaman, which fora year had been criticising the Guide of the
          Islamic Revolution, was arrested at his home on 16 January 2003 by people who said they were from the military judiciary, which later denied it had
          arrested him. He was freed two days later.
          Three journalists arrested
          Issa Saharkhiz, editor of the monthly Aftab, was arrested on 15 July 2003 and freed on bail two days later. He was rearrested on 27 July and then
          freed the next day after being questioned about corruption. He was summoned again on 26 August by the Teheran prosecutor's office and
          questioned about statements supposedly made by Iraj Jamshidi, editor of Asia, who had been arrested in early July. The hardline paper Resalat
          accused Saharkhiz of corruption on 25 August.
          Mohsen Mandegari, political editor of the hard line daily Entekhab, was summoned by the Teheran revolutionary court on 7 October and imprisoned
          until the next day. Editor Mohammad Mehdi Faghihi was summoned at the same time but only held for a few hours. They were arrested after
          publishing an article about the importance to the regime of signing an agreement with the InternationalAtomic Energy Agency.
          Harassment and obstruction
          The reformist daily Baharwas suspended on 11 January 2003 by the Teheran press court a few days after reporting shady stock exchange dealings
          by the firm Al-Zahra, three ofwhose shareholders are prominent politicians - former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, former judiciary chief Ayatollah
          Yazdi and Ahmad Janati, head of the council of the Revolutionary Guards. The paper had been suspended on 8 August 2000 and did not reappear
          until December 2002.
          Hamid Ghazvini, Hossin Moslem and Ahmad Shams, of the daily Hayat-e Now, were summoned for the third time by the religious court on 16
          January and interrogated, as earlier, for nearly seven hours. Two other staff members, Mohsen Mosahafi and Sayah Rezai, were also summoned
          and lengthily interrogated.
          Akram Didari, of the daily Hamshahri, was summoned on 19 January by the religious court and questioned about his writings.
          The daily Hamshahri was suspended on 23 January for 10 days for refusing to print a right-of-response article by Ali-Reza Mahjoub, secretary-general
          of the government controlled Workers' Club trade union. The paper is a favourite target and distribution had already been banned outside the capital
          on the pretext that it was a Teheran paper. It reappeared five days later.
          Film press journalists Sepideh Abroaviz, Narges Vishkai, Assal Samari, Yasamin Soufi and Mehrnaz Teherani were interrogated at the end of
          February by Adareh Amaken and accused of criticising the regime's cultural policy” and “having contacts with” journalist Siamak Pourzand. The head
          of Teheran's security forces also said he found “immoral CD5” in their homes.
          Narges Mohammadi, of the weekly Peyam-e Hajar, was given a one-year suspended prison sentence on 9 March forgiving interviews to the media
          while her husband, Taghi Rahmani, of the weekly Omid-e-Zangan, was in prison. She had been summoned on 4 November 2002 by the revolutionary
          court for “disturbing the peace. She is reportedly under new legal investigation.
          Shaghaiegh Abolfazeli, of the monthly Sin ema-ye Jahan, was arrested on 7 April for unknown reasons and freed a few hours later. She said she had
          been roughed up and insulted.
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          Masomeh Alinejad, of the da ily Hambastegi , Mohammad Naimpour, ed Ito r of the daily Yas-e no, Reza Monsaref, ed itor of the fortn ig htly Ava-ye Maku,
          the ed Ito r of the daily Tosseh, ed itor Mohammed Mirdamadi of the da ily Nowrouz, a nd Mohsen Sazgara, ed itor of the news website Alliran, were
          summoned by the press court in mid-April.
          Eleven journalists, including many from the film press, were summoned in May by Adareh Amaken and accused of possessing and selling “immoral”
          videos. They were Golamreza Moussavi, ed itor of the monthly Sinema-ye Jahan, Au Moalem, ed itor of the monthly Donya-ye Tasvir, Feridon Jerani,
          ed itor of the weekly Sinema, Payam Fazlinejad, of the monthly Gozaresh-e Film, Mohammad Hadi Karimi, editor de Sinema, Alireza Bazel, journalist
          and translator with the daily Hayat-e Now, Houshang Golmakani, of the monthly Film, Nushabeh Amiri (ed itor) and Houshang Asadi (journalist) of
          Gozaresh-e film, film critic Khosrow Dehghan, president of the Writers' Association, and Ibrahim Nabavi, a contributor to several reformist papers.
          The Supreme National Security Council, headed by President Mohammad Khatami, banned the press at the end of May from publishing a letter sent
          by more than 100 reformist MPs to the Supreme Guide demanding reforms and warning that the regime would be in danger if he continued to block
          them. They said most Iranians were unhappy or disappointed, most educated people remained silent or left the country, as had most of its financial
          reserves, and that the country was entirely surrounded by foreign forces.
          No Iranian newspaper printed the letter, which was made public on 24 May, and it could only be read for a few hours on the reformist website
          Rouydadand the site ofthe student news agency l sNA before it was taken down. It can now only be read on foreign-based Persian-language sites.
          The daily Kay / ian, the main Islamist organ, did not appear on newsstands on 10 June, a few days after new Teheran prosecutor Said Mortazavi
          ordered it suspended for a day for calling members of the reformist-majority parliament “swine.' The Kayhan group, which puts out dozens of
          hardline publications, is controlled by the Supreme Guide and is close to the secret police.
          The Supreme National Security Council banned the press on 12 June from the Teheran University campus, where new demonstrations were taking
          place. Several journalists from the ILNA and ISNA news agencies, including ISNA director Abolfazi Fateh, were beaten, and some had their cameras
          seized and were detained for a few hours. The cameras were not returned. The press had been able to report on the protests fairly easily until then.
          Dozens of satellite receiver dishes were seized in Teheran in early July, especially in neighbourhoods where there had been unrest. During the 10-20
          June demonstrations, US-based Persian-language satellite TV stations (most controlled by monarchists) had urged people to take to the streets. The
          regime wanted to block new protests on 9 July, the anniversary of the brutally-crushed student protests in 1999. Selling and possessing dishes is
          officially forbidden but the authorities say there are several million in the country. The regime jams Persian-language and other foreign-based TV
          stations.
          Between mid-July and mid-August, Reporters Without Borders recorded more than 50 cases of journalists being summoned by legal officials.
          Javad Alizadeh, cartoonist on the monthly Tanz, was summoned on 13 July by the Teheran prosecutor's office.
          Mortaza Lotfi, of the daily Kar va Karegar, was summoned by a Teheran court on 27 July to answer 17 formal complaints.
          Mostafa Karazi, managing editor of the daily Sada-ye Edalat, was summoned on 28 July and charged on the basis of a complaint by the Teheran
          prosecutor.
          Mahnaz Hovida, editor of the regional weekly Raizan Javan, was summoned on 30 July by Teheran prosecutor Said Mortazavi.
          Ahmad Nabavi, managing editor of the weekly Nada-ye Eslahat, was banned from working as a journalist for three years by a court in Arak on 3
          August and fined 7 million rials (700 euros). Editor Ma'soud Moradi Bastani was given a suspended six-month jail sentence, a five-year ban on
          working as a journalist, a fine of a million rials (100 euros) and six lashes. One of the paper's journalists, Moharam Berati, was similarly banned for
          three years and fined 80,000 rials (eight euros). All three were accused of libel and “publishing lies.”
          The weekly Nahmeh-ye Ghazvin was banned on 9 August for “encouraging depravation and publication of lies.” Its first issue had also been banned
          and editor Ali Shahrouzi accused of “damaging the reputation of political and religious figures and undermining official organisations.'
          The same day, four people were each given a year's suspended prison sentence for publishing two books about women. They were Banafsheh
          Samghis, who reported the books in the press, their publisher and the two women authors.
          Abdollah Nasseri, head of the national news agency IRNA, was summoned by a Teheran court on 12 August for publishing a speech by Teheran MP
          Mohsen Armin about the murder of photo-journalist Zahra Kazemi.
          Ali Reza Alavitabar, who helps run the website Emrouz, was summoned by a Teheran court on 13 August.
          Mostafa Kovakabian, managing editor of the reformist daily Mardomsalari, was summoned and charged on 17 August on three counts concerning
          articles about the Kazemi murder and about Hossein Khomeini, grandson of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini..
          Gholi Shikhi, managing editor of the reformist daily Tosseh, was summoned four times by a Teheran court on 18 August for four different matters.
          The same day, Mostafa Nassehi, editor of the suspended weekly Tabarestan, was summoned and convicted by a Teheran court for “anti-regime
          propaganda, insulting regime officials and publishing false news” after the paper reported on flaws in the legal system and on torture in prison.
          Amir Reza Nourizadeh, who writes for the newspapers MosigiMagam and Sinema-ye Jahan, was ordered from 22 August to report daily to the police.
          The same day, Mohammad Javad Roh, of Yas-e no, was summoned and then freed on bail.
          Mohammad Naimpour, managing editor of the daily Yas-e no, was summoned by the Teheran prosecutor's office on 27 August to answer 25
          complaints filed by the Revolutionary Guards, the prison administration and the Teheran prosecutor for libelling the authorities, undermining national
          security and publishing anti-regime propaganda. He was freed on bail of 700 million rials (70,000 euros).
          Mohammad Javad Roh, of the daily Yas-e no, was summoned and interrogated by the Teheran revolutionary court on 28 August for “insulting the
          regime' and ‘publishing false news.” He was freed the same day on bail of 100 million rials (10,000 euros) pending trial.
          Several journalists, including Amir Reza Nourizadeh, of the monthlies Musighi-yeMagham and Sinema-yeJahan, were summoned byAdareh Amaken
          at the end of August.
          Mostafa Sabti, editor of the weekly Gorgan Emrouz, was sentenced by a court in the northern town of Gorgan on 1 September to 91 days in prison
          for publishing “lies that disturb the peace” and libelling the authorities, plus a further four months suspended for three years. He remained free
          pending his appeal.
          Lotfollah Missami, editor of the monthly Cheshmeh Andaz-e Iran, was summoned by a Teheran court on 6 September for publishing “lies that disturb
          the peace” and for libel. He was released on bail of one billion rials (100,000 euros).
          Eskandar Deldam, of the suspended weekly Tabarestan, was summoned and detained by the Teheran prosecutor's office on 21 September after an
          article poking fun at the state radio and TV, which is directly controlled by the Supreme Guide. He was freed the same day.
          Keyvan Zargari, cartoonist for the daily Yas-e no, was summoned on 27 September and freed the same day on bail.
          Fariba Davoudi Mohajer, a contributor to the reformist press, was given a three-year suspended prison sentence on 28 September by the Teheran
          revolutionary court for subversion and anti-regime propaganda for her writings and because she had signed a petition calling for the release of
          political prisoners.
          The managing editors of the reformist dailies Yas-e no, Sharq, Hambastegiand Baharaneh were summoned by a Teheran court between 1 and 7
          October on the basis of complaints by prosecutor Said Mortazavi.
          The weekly Avay-e Kordestan was banned in mid-October by a revolutionary court in the Kurdish province of Sanandaj.
          Mohammad Naimpour, managing editor of the daily Yas-e no, was summoned bya Teheran court on 18 October.
          The same day, Elias Hazrti, managing editor of the daily E'temad, was summoned by a Teheran court for ‘undermining national unity.”
          Gholam Reza Sadeghian, of the daily Kayhan, was summoned by a Teheran court on 23 October for libel and ‘publishing lies.' He was freed on bail
          the same day after interrogation. He had written an article about trafficking in used medical supplies that had infected 80 people.
          Manuchehr Tavakoli, editor of the monthly Niki, was convicted by the Teheran revolutionary court on 29 October of publishing “immoral” articles and
          photos.
          Issa Sahakhiz, editor of the monthly Aftab, was summoned by a Teheran court on 5 November for an article allegedly insulting the late Ayatollah
          Khomeini. It was based on a translation of an article in an Israeli paper about the 1979 Islamic revolution.
          Majid Ghassemi Fizabadi, managing editor of the daily Nassim-e Sabah, was convicted by a Teheran court on 10 November of libel and “publishing
          lies disturbing the peace” by printing a report on the Zahra Kazemi murder by parliament's Article 90 Commission.
          The weekly Aban was suspended by the press supervisory commission on 18 November for “irregular publication.” The paper was one of 20
          suspended in 2000 in a crackdown on the reformist press. It was allowed to reappear in 2001. Its most recent issue had contained two articles
          about the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, which went to Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi.
          Reporters without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the wrld. It has nine national sections (Austria, Belgium, canada, France,
          Germany, Italy, Spain, Seeden and Switzerland). It has representatives in Bangkok, NewYork, Tokyo and washington. And it has more than 120 correspondents
          http://en . rsf.org/spip.php?page= impre... 4/ 5
        
          
          8/6/2010 Reporters Sans Frontières
          rId de.
          © Reporters Without Borders - 47, rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris - France
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Imprisonment, Free Speech