Reporters Without Borders has learned that two other journalists were arrested yesterday after being summoned to Tehran’s Evin prison, bringing to 14 the total number of journalists arrested during the past three days on charges of collaborating with groups opposed to the “Islamic Revolution.”
But Motahareh Shafie, one of the ten arrested on “Black Sunday” (27 January), was released yesterday, so the number currently in detention now stands at 13. Other journalists in Tehran and various provinces have received summonses and are awaiting interrogation.
The two arrested yesterday were Keyvan Mehregan, who writes for various reformist newspapers, and Hossein Yaghchi, who works for the weekly Aseman and the monthly Tajrobeh.
According to Agence France-Presse, the journalists were all arrested “under a warrant issued by the judicial authority.” AFP’s Tehran bureau put out several dispatches yesterday quoting Farsnews, an Iranian news agency linked to the Revolutionary Guards, as describing them as “supporters of the anti-revolutionary movement.”
According to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, the journalists were arrested by the intelligence ministry “in order to verify whether or not they work for news media based abroad.” They are currently being held in isolation cells in Evin prison’s Section 209, which the intelligence ministry controls.
“Accusing journalists of collaborating with groups opposed to the ‘Islamic Revolution’ is not new,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This charge is often used against Iranian journalists and intellectuals in order to silence them.”
Culture and Islamic Guidance minister Mohammad Hosseini said on 27 January: “These journalists were not arrested because of their journalistic activities. It seems that they were arrested on charges linked to security, not for violating the regulations governing the media.”