CPJ condemns additional arrests in Iran

New York, January 7, 2010Iranian authorities have arrested at least three more journalists in their ongoing campaign to suppress critical reporting and commentary, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the arrests and calls on the government to release all imprisoned journalists, who number more than 30.

Behrang Tonkaboni, editor-in-chief of the monthly magazine Farhang va Ahang, and Kayyvan Farzin, a reporter for the publication, were arrested at their office on Monday, according to local news reports. Police searched Tonkaboni’s home, confiscating his computer and documents belonging to his mother, the prominent author Lili Farhadpour, news reports said. Authorities also seized Farzin’s computer hard drive.

Parisa Kakaee, a journalist for the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, was arrested Sunday after being summoned by the Ministry of Information, the reformist news Web site Kalame reported. Kakaee writes regularly about political and human rights issues on her two blogs.

“Iranian authorities have apparently decided to arrest as many independent and opposition journalists as they possibly can,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “We call on the Iranian authorities to reverse this regrettable course and release all detained journalists.”

Since the disputed presidential elections in June, Iranian authorities have launched a relentless assault on opposition and independent media. CPJ has documented numerous cases in which authorities have shut down newspapers, blocked Web sites, arrested and sentenced journalists to lengthy prison sentences.