Behzad Zarinpour was not, as reported earlier, arrested at his home on 7 September but disappeared the same day after being summoned by a Teheran court. Later that day, his family said men in plainclothes came to search his home. There was no news of him for nearly a week until legal officials announced on 13 September he had been arrested.
_ 12 September 2003
Another journalist arrested
Reporters Without Borders denounced today what it called the illegal arrest of Behzad Zarinpour, assistant editor of the Iranian newspaper Asia and former editor of Abrar Eqtesadi (Economic News), at his home on 7 September by armed civilians who searched it. His family has not heard from him since.
" Iran remains a country where journalists have a hard time, with continuing arrests and imprisonment in solitary confinement in deplorable sanitary conditions," said the organisation's secretary-general, Robert Ménard, calling on the authorities to tell the family at once where and why he was being held.
The bad detention conditions are leading to hunger-strikes by journalists held at Teheran's Evin prison. One of them, Mohsen Sazgara, whose trial began in secret on 6 September, has stopped eating and is refusing to take any medicine despite having serious heart problems. Another, Taghi Rahmani, also began a hunger-strike in protest against solitary confinement, which is commonly meted out to jailed journalists of the reformist press.
These prisoners are handled by the staff of Teheran prosecutor-general Said Mortazavi and the Guardians of the Revolution and are held in the wing where Canadian-Iranian journalist Zahra Kazemi was beaten and died in July.
Iran is the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East, with 17 in jail.