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New Round Of Harassment Against Iranian Journalists

Reza Moeini , head of Iran desk at Reporters sans frontières / Reporters Without Borders / RSF

A new round of persecution of journalists has started in Iran, Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) head of Iran desk, Reza Moeini has cautioned.

“Iran is still counted as one of the five largest prisons of the world for journalists,” Moeini reiterates.

Meanwhile, another journalist, Yaghma Fashkhami has been arrested in Tehran. Security forces arrested Mr. Fashkhami on Monday evening, August 21.

Earlier last week, Sassan Aqayee deputy editor of a reformist daily, E’temad, was also detained.

“These detentions herald a new round of imposing more pressure on Iranian journalists,” Moeini maintains.

The reason behind the recent detentions is not yet clear, Iran Labor News Agency, ILNA reported, adding “Authorities have not commented on the fate of these two reformist journalists, so far”.

Yaghma Fashkhami was detained at his office, ‘Didban Iran’ (Iran Watch), a website close to Iran green Movement, Kalmeh, reported.

“Fashkhami was arrested by the judiciary’s intelligence forces,” Kalemeh added.

It was second time that Yaghma Fashkhami, a contributor to monthly “Payam-I Hajar” and former reporter of daily “Roozan”, was taken into custody. He was arrested in 2015 but released, later.

Meanwhile, Sassan Aqayee’s family has called for swift action to legally clear up his case.

“Hours after his detention, we saw Sassan at a court hearing for receiving the charges he has been accused of,” Sassan’s mother told daily E’temad, noting, “Sassan categorically denied all charges, insisting that he has done nothing against the law.”

Furthermore, Sassan Aqaayee’s mother said, “Three days after Sassan’s detention, the inspector issued an order, allowing us to meet my son. We went to the prison but the authorities ignored the inspector’s order and did not let us have a meeting with Sassan”.

Aqayee’s mother, once again, tried to have a meeting with her son on Saturday but without any success, “The prison’s authorities told us that as far as Sassan’s case is in ‘interrogation stage’, nobody’s allowed to meet him in person”.

Reporters Without Borders’ Reza Moeini regretfully says, “If President Rouhani’s new administration is the continuation of his previous government, we cannot expect any change. However, we hope that will change and Mr. Rouhani will use his power as the supervisor of the Islamic Republic’s constitution and stop arbitrarily detention of journalists”.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that another journalist, Hengameh Shahidi is on hunger strike behind bars.

“My mother has been on dry hunger strike for the past seven days,” Hengameh Shahidi’s daughter, lamented in a post on her Twitter account.

Moreover, another detained journalist, Ehsan Mazandarani is also in critical health condition, his family has reported.

“For the past six days, Ehsan’s stomach rejects everything, save water,” Mazandarani’s wife, Maliheh Hosseini has tweeted.

Nevertheless, the prison authorities have rejected Mazandarani’s request to see a doctor, so far.

RSF’s representative for Iran says, “Iran has remained as one of the five largest prisons of the globe for the journalists.

In a statement issued on August 3, RSF called upon President Hassan Rouhani to keep committed to the promises he presented in his presidential campaigns, including respect for the media and freedom of expression.