June 15, 2006
Original Alert: February 16, 2006
Elham Afroutan and Mohsen Dorostkar, Tammadon-e Hormozgan
On January 29, Mohsen Dorostkar, editor-in-chief of Tammadon-e Hormozgan, and Elham Afroutan, a journalist for the weekly, were among seven journalists jailed after publishing a satirical article written by an Iranian Web blogger in Germany, and likening Iran’s 1979 revolution and Khomeini’s subsequent reign to the AIDS virus.
Dorostkar was released on June 10 after posting 300 million rials (US$32,500) bail. Afroutan was released the following day after posting bail in the same amount. Both are charged with insulting Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. If convicted they face up to six months in jail, according to a spokesperson for the Iranian Committee for the Defense of Freedom of the Press. Afroutan is also facing an additional charge of making propaganda against the system, Afroutan’s lawyer, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, told Reuters. No trial date has been set.
Violent protests broke out in Bandar Abbas after the paper published the article in January and demonstrators burned down the newspaper’s offices. Authorities closed the weekly, saying it had violated Iran’s press laws. The other five journalists were temporarily detained pending investigation and released within the week without charge, according to a spokesperson for the Iranian Committee for the Defense of Freedom of the Press.