April 19, 2017

Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2017

19.04.2017 – Narges Mohammadi begins serving second jail term

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is outraged by the continuing persecution of journalist and leading human rights defender Narges Mohammadi, who has just started serving a ten-year prison sentence on completing a six-year one. She received the ten-year sentence a year after her most recent arrest, on 5 May 2015.

Mohammadi has a long history of persecution by the judicial authorities and has been arrested several times. During her spells out of prison, she has worked closely with Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi at the Centre for Human Rights Defenders.

The six-year sentence followed her arrest at her home on the evening of 10 June 2010. She was convicted two months later on charges of “meeting and plotting against the Islamic Republic,” “anti-government publicity:” and “collaborating with the Centre for Human Rights Defenders” and was given an 11-year jail term that was reduced to six years on appeal in March 2011.

Mohammadi suffered muscular paralysis as a consequence of the heavy-handed interrogation sessions to which she was subjected after her arrest in 2010. As a result, she was paroled in July 2012.


17.03.2017 - More journalists arrested

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) yet again condemns the persecution of journalists in Iran after at least three more were arrested in the past week.

The latest victims include Morad Saghafi, the editor of the magazine Goft o Gu (“Dialogue” in Persian), who was arrested at his Tehran home yesterday and was taken to an unknown location. His lawyer, Hamed Zargar, said neither he nor Saghafi’s family have been told why he was arrested.

Meanwhile, Ali Motahari, the deputy speaker of Iran’s parliament, yesterday asked the minister of intelligence to explain why a military unit recently arrested 12 editors of pro-reform information pages on the instant messaging service Telegram.

Motahari also criticized the detention of Ehssan Mazandarani, the former editor of the newspaper Farhikhteghan, on 12 March (see RSF’s 13 March release). His wife, Malieh Hossieni, a journalist with the newspaper Farhikhteghana, was fired the day after his arrest.

Although banned, apps and social networks such as Telegram, Facebook and Twitter nowadays play an important role in providing Iranians with news and information. Telegram says it has more than 15 million users in Iran.

According to the Kalameh news website, Ali Ahmadinia, the administrator of the Eslahat News (Reform News) channel on Telegram, was arrested on 14 March and was taken to an unknown location.

RSF is currently very concerned about the health of two journalists who have been on hunger strike since their arrest. One is Mazandarani, who was arrested on 12 March (see above). The other Henghameh Shahidi, who was arrested on 9 March.


15.03.2017 – Former editor gets six-month jail term

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the six-month prison sentence that has been passed on Hossein Karoubi, the former editor of Etemad Meli (a newspaper closed since August 2009) for circulating the open letter that his father, Mehdi Karoubi, wrote to President Hassan Rohani.

In the April 2016 letter, published in mostly foreign-based media outlets and on social networks, Mehdi Karoubi asks to be tried before a public court “in order to present the evidence I possess about massive fraud during the 2005 and 2009 presidential elections and to show what has happened to young Iranians in the country’s legal and illegal detention centres.”

Etemad Melli’s owner and a former parliamentary speaker, Mehdi Karoubi has been under house arrest since February 2011, a fate he has shared with former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi (the owner of the closed newspaper Kalameh Sabaz) and Mousavi’s wife, the writer Zahra Rahnavard. Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, who are both former presidential candidates, are being held illegally and are being denied their rights. Their state of health is very worrying.

RSF has meanwhile learned that Samna Safari, a journalist with the monthly Andisher Poya, was released on 11 March after the authorities determined that he had served his two-year jail sentence. Detained along with three other journalists in a wave of arrests in November 2015, he was sentenced by a revolutionary court in March 2016 to five years in prison for “anti-government propaganda activities.” This was reduced to two years on appeal.


28.02.2017 – City of Qom suspends newspaper

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the decision by the city of Qom’s public prosecutor to suspend the newspaper Shakheh Sabz on 26 February, a day after it ran a story criticizing the level of violence in one of its poorest districts, which it likened to a “jungle.” The suspension was ordered after 136 parliamentarians supported a resolution accusing the daily of “insulting the population of the Holy City of Qom.” The newspaper’s name means “Green Branch.”


22.02.2017 – Ahmad Montazeri returned to prison

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) firmly condemns progressive cleric Ahmad Montazeri’s arrest yesterday. The editor of the website of his late father, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, he was returned to prison after being summoned before a special court for clerics.

Tried behind closed doors and without a defence lawyer on 20 October, Montazeri was sentenced on 27 November to ten years in prison for endangering state security, ten years for publishing a “classified audio recording” and another year for anti-government “propaganda.”

He was prosecuted for posting an old recording on the website on 9 August 2016 in which his father could be heard criticizing the wave of executions of political prisoners in the 1980s.

For more information: Ahmad Montazeri gets 21-year jail term as part of bid to suppress history


17.02.2017 - Editor freed on completing jail term

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has learned that Ehssan Mazndarani – the editor of the newspaper Farhikhteghan and one of the victims of a wave of arrests in November 2015 – was released on 9 February. He had been given a seven-year jail sentence that was reduced to two years on appeal, His lawyer said he was freed as a result of a decision that he had completed his sentence. While in prison, he was hospitalized several times with heart and chest problems after a three-week hunger strike.


10.01.2017 - Website reporter flogged for getting facts wrong

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled to learn that Hossien Movahedi, a local news website reporter, was flogged last week in Najafabad, a city 450 km south of Tehran, for getting one of his facts wrong in a story about the confiscation of mopeds from female students at a technological secondary school in the city.

Movahedi reported on the Najafabad News website on 14 June 2016 that the police seized 35 mopeds when, according to the police, it was only eight. Although he apologized for his mistake and although the police were allowed to publish their version on the website, the police pressed charges against him and a Najafabad court sentenced him to 40 lashes for “publishing false information.” This inhuman and medieval sentence was carried out on 4 January.

Iran has yet to ratify the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment.


06.01.2016 - Woman journalist freed on completing one-year jail term

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has learned that Rihaneh Tabatabai, a journalist who has worked for several reformist newspapers, was released yesterday on completing a one-year jail term on charges of endangering national security and anti-government publicity. She was arrested on 12 January 2016 to begin serving the sentence, which was originally imposed in November 2014 and was confirmed by a Tehran appeal court a year later. The sentence also includes two-year ban on political and journalistic activity in the media and online following her release. In all, Tabatabai has been jailed four times since 2010 in connection with her journalistic activities.


Press freedom violations recounted in real time (January -December 2016)


Press freedom violations recounted in real time (January -December 2015)


Press freedom violations recounted in real time ( January-December 2014)


Press freedom violations recounted in real time ( January-December 2013)


Press freedom violations recounted in real time (January-December 2012)


Press freedom violations recounted in real time (January-December 2011)


Press freedom violations recounted in real time (July-December 2010)


Press freedom violations recounted in real time (January-July 2010)


Press freedom violations recounted in real time (June-December 2009)