Seven journalists held

February 28, 2006 12:00 PM ET

February 28, 2006
Original Alert: February 16, 2006

Elham Afroutan and six other journalists, Tammadon-e Hormozgan


Elham Afroutan, one of seven journalists jailed after publishing a satirical article that criticized the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, has been transferred from prison in Bandar Abbas to Tehran's Evin Prison after she attempted suicide in custody, according to the Iranian Committee for the Defense of Freedom of the Press.

The seven journalists, who work for the Bandar Abbas weekly Tammadon-e Hormozgan, have spent more than four weeks in detention pending investigation into the article. The journalists have not had access to their families, lawyers, or medical treatment, Amnesty International said. No formal charges have been disclosed.

The article was written by an Iranian Web blogger in Germany and likened Iran's 1979 revolution and Khomeini's subsequent reign to the AIDS virus. Authorities closed the weekly, saying it had violated Iran's press laws. While no formal charges have been disclosed, the journalists could face flogging and lengthy prison sentences under Iran's penal code for insulting Khomeini or the office of the supreme leader.

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