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February 26, 2008 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Website editor arrested in crackdown on Internet two weeks before parliamentary elections


Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrest of Mohammad Hassan Nobakhti, the editor of the conservative website Nosazi, who was put in Evin prison on the orders of Tehran prosecutor-general Said Mortazavi yesterday, 11 days after Mortazavi banned his website. “This arrest was arbitrary and irregular,” the press freedom organisation said. “No complaint had been brought against Nobakhti. The authorities are cracking down harder on the Internet in the run-up to the 14 March parliamentary elections but, paradoxically, it is not always the sites that are most critical of the government that are banned.” Reporters Without Borders added: “Conservative websites that support President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad usually enjoy a degree of immunity, and the blocking of Nosazi is indicative of the level of tension between the different conservative factions as the elections get nearer.” Nosazi was critical of the reformist policies and mocked comments made about the parliamentary elections by the young mullah Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of the late Supreme Guide, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=25762). As well as Nosazi, four other websites were blocked including a site edited by Fatemeh Rajabi, the wife of the government spokesman. The authorities said they were “poisoning the electoral environment.”