Five websites closed down, two women's rights journalists charged

Photo AFP Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday's closure of five websites and the charges of “violating national security” brought yesterday against Jelveh Javaheri and Nahid Keshavarz, two journalists who write for the women rights's websites WeChange and Zanestan. “These charges are abusive,” the press freedom organisation said. “Javaheri and Keshavarz just do their job as journalists when they write about the condition of women in Iran. This is Javaheri's second arrest in two months while Keshavarz is constantly being summoned before the Tehran revolutionary court. We call on the authorities to free them at once and to stop bringing prosecutions against them.” Javaheri, 30, writes for WeChange. She was previously arrested on 1 December and charged with “disturbing public opinion,” “publishing false information” and “publicity against the Islamic Republic” for writing articles demanding respect for the rights that women are accorded under the Iranian constitution. She was released on bail a month later. Keshavarz, who writes for both WeChange and Zanestan, has been summoned and questioned by the intelligence services several times in the past. In April 2007, she has been detained for more than ten days or having taken part to feminist's meetings. She was freed on bail. Tehran prosecutor-general Saeed Mortazavi yesterday decided to ban the conservative website Nosazi and four other sites for “poisoning the electoral domain.” Since 8 February, there has been a growing controversy about the 14 March parliamentary elections, with young mollah Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of the late Supreme Guide, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, condemning the Guardian Council's decision to disqualify 70 per cent of the candidates. Nosazi had criticised his position. “Tension is increasing as regards the Internet in the runup to the parliamentary elections,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Nonetheless, these five website criticised pro-reform views, not the ruling party. Iran is one of the countries that cracks down hardest on the Internet and the elections are just encouraging more violations of free expression.” Download 2008 Iran Annual report
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Updated on 20.01.2016