News

January 24, 2019

Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2019

24.01.2019 – Two citizen-journalists released

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has learned that two citizen-journalists, Alireza Tavakoli and Mohammad Mehdi Zaman Zadeh, were released conditionally on 18 and 20 January respectively on completing half of their five-year jail sentences.

Arrested in September 2016, they were originally sentenced to 12 years in prison in April 2017 on charges of “insulting [Supreme Leader] Ali Khamenei and Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic’s founder,” “insulting what is most sacred in Islam” and anti-government propaganda.

These sentences were later reduced to five years in prison on appeal. And finally, on the occasion of the Iranian New Year (March 2018), the five-year sentences were reduced to two and a half years under article 134 of the New Islamic Penal Code, according to which those convicted of several crimes serve only the sentence for the most serious charge.

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22.01.2019 - Another member of the student newspaper Game arrested

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has learned that another member of the student newspaper Game, civil society activist Amir Amirgholi, was arrested at the same time as two colleagues (see the 15 January post below), but his arrest was not confirmed officially at the time. His Twitter et WhatsApp accounts remained active for more than 48 hours, until his father reported that “intelligence ministry agents” were using them. His family does not know where or why he is being held.


Iranian state TV broadcast a “documentary” on 19 January in which several activists and workers, who had been arrested in connection with the Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane company strike, confessed to being in contact with opposition communist parties abroad. Broadcast on prime time on Channel 2, which is reputed to be an intelligence agency mouthpiece, the broadcast also showed a meeting of the staff of Game, calling it a “subversive group.”


Two people who were freed provisionally after been arrested in connection with the strike, the activist Sepideh Gholian and the worker Esmail Bakhshi, reported on social networks several days before this broadcast that they had been tortured. The authorities issued formal denials and intelligence ministry agents re-arrested them the day after the broadcast. Their torture claims have meanwhile prompted an outcry and a “I was also tortured” campaign on social networks. Several other former detainees have also now reported being tortured in detention.

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16.01.2019 - Persecution of Narges Mohammadi continues

 Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the unrelenting manner in which the Iranian judicial system and the authorities in Tehran’s Evin prison continue to persecute the 46-year-old journalist and human rights activist Narges Mohammadi.

 

She and one of her fellow detainees, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (who has British and Iranian dual citizenship) began a hunger strike on 14 January in protest against the way they are denied proper medical attention. Mohammadi has been allowed no phone calls ever since announcing the planned hunger strike two weeks ago, including her weekly phone calls with her children, who live in exile in France with their father.

 

The spokesperson of Iran’s banned Centre for Human Rights Defenders, Mohammadi has been held since 5 May 2015 and has been sentenced to a total of 16 years in prison on several charges, although she is officially supposed to serve “only” ten of these years, according to a law adopted in the summer of 2015 under which those convicted of several crimes serve only the sentence for the most serious charge.

 

An employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the London-based charitable arm of the Thomson Reuters news agency, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested while visiting her family in Tehran in April 2016 and was sentenced to five years in prison in September 2016.

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15.01.2019 - Two more student newspaper journalists arrested 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has learned that two citizen-journalists – Amir Hossein Mohammadi Far, the editor of the student newspaper Game, and Sanaz Allahyari, a member of its editorial staff – were arrested at their Tehran homes by intelligence ministry agents on 9 January. There has not yet been any official statement about the reason for their arrest. According to their families, they were taken to the southern city of Ahavaz. RSF has been told that, like fellow Game journalist Assal Mohammadi, they have been arrested for their coverage of strikes by workers at the Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane company, who demonstrated for 20 days outside the office of the governor of the southern district of Shush to demand more wages.

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07.01.2019 - Citizen-journalist released pending trial

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has learned that Assal Mohammadi, a citizen-journalist who was arrested at her Tehran home on 4 December, has been released provisionally. After payment of bail, she was freed on 5 January pending trial. A student at the Islamic Azad University and member of the editorial board of the student newspaper Game, she was arrested after writing about strikes by workers at the Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane company, who demonstrated for 20 days outside the office of the governor of the southern district of Shush to demand more wages.

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Iran is one of the world’s five biggest prisons for journalists and citizen-journalists, according to RSF’s 2018 round-up.


For more information : RSF writes to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights about journalists detained in Iran

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Press freedom violations recounted in real time January (January -December 2018)

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Press freedom violations recounted in real time (January -December 2017)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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