Reporters Without Borders today welcomed the release on bail last evening of journalist Abdolreza Tajik, winner of the organisation’s 2010 press freedom award, after his family put up bail for a third time in the sum of 500,000,000 tomans (about 370,000 euros).
The worldwide press freedom organisation said it was delighted at the release of the emblematic figure in the struggle for freedom and journalism in Iran, who had been imprisoned for a third time on 12 June 2010.
But his release did nothing to alter the catastrophic state of fundamental freedoms in the country, said the organisation, renewing its call for the release of 46 other journalists and human rights defenders who remain behind bars.
Tajik, a member of the Tehran-based Human Rights Defenders’ Centre, was awarded the Journalist of the Year 2010 prize for the quality of his work and his commitment to defending press freedom in Iran. The free expression activist was political editor on most of the newspapers that have been officially banned, including Fateh (banned in 2000), Bahar (in 2001), Bonyan (in 2002), Hambastegi (in 2003) and Shargh (in 2008). He wrote articles condemning violations of freedom of expression and the arbitrary arrests of journalists.
Tajik was unable to attend the ceremony to receive his press freedom prize awarded by Reporters Without Borders and French retailer Fnac, which was held in Paris on 10 December. Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi, head of the Human Rights Defenders’ Centre, received the award on his behalf.
Ebadi, along with activist and journalist, Parvin Ardalan, winner of the Reporters Without Borders 2009 Netizen prize, staged a sit-in outside the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, with six other Iranian human rights and women’s movements activists from 20 to 22 December to press for the release of lawyer Nassrin Sotoudeh.
Following a promise from the UN High Commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay to closely monitor human rights violations in Iran, the sit-in as well as Sotoudeh’s own hunger strike, were called off. But the activists released a statement in which they said that ending their demonstration did not mean the end of their struggle.