New York, September 27, 2001—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) today welcomed the release from prison of Iranian editor Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, who was freed on September 12 after spending 17 months in prison.
In an e-mail sent to Shamsolvaezin, CPJ executive director Ann Cooper wrote: “We were happy to learn of your release from prison earlier this month. For the last 17 months, you have been an inspiration to journalists throughout the world because of the immense courage and dedication you displayed in carrying out your professional work.”
“CPJ and its supporters around the world wish you and your family the very best,” Cooper wrote. “We will continue to work for the release of our other jailed colleagues in Iran and remain committed to the struggle for press freedom.”
Shamsolvaezin edited the groundbreaking dailies Jameah, Tous, Neshat, and Asr-e-Azadegan, each one successively banned by Tehran’s notorious Press Court between 1998 and 2000.
In April 2000, he was jailed for 30 months for the crime of “insulting Islamic principles.” The charge stemmed from on an article he published that criticized capital punishment in Iran.
The editor was freed under an early-release program after serving 17 months of his 30-month sentence. However, he was also required to post bail in relation to new, unspecified charges pending against him in the Press Court.
Last year, Shamsolvaezin received a CPJ International Press Freedom Award for courage and independence in news reporting.
At least eight other journalists remain in jail in Iran because of their journalistic work.