New York, March 9, 2010—The number of journalists in jail rose in February as a relentless media crackdown continues in Iran. Authorities are now holding at least 52 journalists in prison, a third of all those in jail around the world, according to the latest monthly survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
“Iran is entering a state of permanent media repression, a situation that is not only appalling but also untenable,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “The Iranian government will eventually lose the war against information, but we are saddened every day that our colleagues are paying such a terrible price.”
Twelve journalists were imprisoned in February alone, although seven were released. The January census recorded 47 in jail. CPJ has joined forces with leading press freedom organizations from around the world in a campaign to win the release of journalists jailed in Iran. An online petition that will be sent to Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei later this month is available on the site.
In light of the Iranian government’s ongoing crackdown, CPJ has been conducting a
monthly survey of journalists imprisoned in Iran. (CPJ normally conducts a worldwide survey of jailed journalists each December.) The survey, conducted on the first of each month, is a snapshot of those incarcerated on that date. It does not include more than 50 other journalists in Iran who have been imprisoned and released on bail over the last several months. Five of those now in jail were detained prior to the 2009 crackdown.
The current detainees include internationally known figures such as Emadeddin Baghi, the author and human rights defender, Mohammad Davari, an editor who helped expose prisoner abuse at the Kahrizak Detention Center, and Shiva Nazar Ahari, a human rights reporter who has been jailed twice in the last nine months and is being held in solitary confinement.
In most cases, authorities have filed vague antistate charges such as “propagation against the regime,” insulting authorities, and disrupting public order. But many cases are shrouded in secrecy, without even formal charges being disclosed.
Some detainees have already been sentenced to lengthy prison terms, lashes, internal exile, and lifetime bans on writing and other social and political activities. The cases of many others are pending. At least two face heresy charges that, upon conviction, would bring the death penalty.
Currently, China is the world’s second largest jailer of journalists, with 24 in prison, followed by Cuba, with 22. The number of jailed journalists is the highest CPJ has recorded in a single country since December 1996, when it documented 78 imprisonments in Turkey.
Here are capsule reports on each journalist jailed in Iran:
Adnan Hassanpour, Aso
Imprisoned: January 25, 2007
Security agents seized Hassanpour, former editor for the now-defunct Kurdish-Persian weekly Aso, in his hometown of Marivan, Kurdistan province, according to news reports.
Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, Payam-e Mardom
Imprisoned: July 1, 2007
Plainclothes security officials arrested journalist and human rights activist Kaboudvand at his Tehran office, according to Amnesty International and CPJ sources. He is being held at Evin Prison in Tehran.
Authorities accused Kaboudvand, head of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan and managing editor of the weekly Payam-e Mardom, of acting against national security and engaging in propaganda against the state, according to his organization’s Web site.
Mojtaba Lotfi, freelance
Imprisoned: October 8, 2008
A clergyman and blogger, Lotfi was arrested by security forces on a warrant issued by the religious Clergy Court in Qom. Authorities accused him of publishing the views of Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, who had criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s positions.
Authorities did not specify particular articles or publications in which the views were supposedly cited. Lotfi was convicted of several charges, including spreading antistate information, and sentenced to four years in prison, according to news reports.
Hossein Derakhshan, freelance Imprisoned: November 2008
On December 30, 2008, a spokesman for the Iranian Judiciary confirmed in a press conference in Tehran that Derakhshan, a well-known Iranian-Canadian blogger, had been detained since November 2008 in connection with comments he allegedly made about a key cleric, according to local and international news reports.
Jahan NewsThe exact date of Derakhshan’s arrest was unknown, but news of his detention first appeared on November 17, 2008, on a Web site close to the Iranian intelligence apparatus. At the time, Jahan News reported that he had confessed to “spying for Israel” during the preliminary interrogation.
Derakhshan started blogging after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. A former writer for reformist newspapers, he also contributed opinion pieces to The Guardian of London and The New York Times. The journalist, who lived in Canada during most of the last decade, returned to Tehran a few weeks prior to his detention, The Washington Post reported. In November, the BBC Persian service reported that Derakhshan’s family had sought information about his whereabouts and the charges he faced and expressed concern about having very limited contact with him. According to an article in Khodnevis, a cooperative Web site of Iranian journalists, Derakhshan has spent more than nine months of his detention in solitary confinement at Evin Prison. He has not had any visits with his family, and has only recently been allowed to buy items at the prison store. According to this article, Derakhshan’s charges range from espionage for Israel to illegitimate sexual relationships and insulting sacred concepts, charges that carry a death sentence.
Nader Karimi Jooni, Jahan-e-Sanat, Sharq, Gozaresh, Fekr, and Siasat-e-Rooz
Imprisoned: December 2008
Jooni, arrested in late 2008, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on January 11, 2010, at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court. He was convicted on charges of mutiny, espionage, and acting against national security, according to the reformist Web site Kalame. He denied the charges and said the case was politicized.Jooni, who was an editor and writer for now-defunct publications such as Gozaresh, Fekr, Jahan-e Sanat and Siasat Roozi> was placed in Evin Prison’s Ward 209, where political prisoners are held. He is an Iran-Iraq War veteran who requires ongoing medical care, according to reformist news Web site Kalame.
Mohammad Pour Abdollah, freelance
Imprisoned: February 13, 2009 On December 9, 2009, branch 15 of Iran’s Revolutionary
On December 9, 2009, branch 15 of Iran’s Revolutionary Courts sentenced Pour Abdollah, a Tehran university student and a blogger, to six years in prison for “illegal congregation, actions against national security, and propagating against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” according to the BBC Persian Web site. According to different news Web sites, he has been tortured and abused physically and psychologically in prison.
Since his detention, Pour Abdollah’s blog has been disabled. Only his last post can be accessed on another writer’s blog. In that post, Pour Abdollah writes critically about the political, social, and economic conditions in Iran and elsewhere.
Morteza Moradpour, Yazligh
Imprisoned: May 22, 2009
Bizim Tabriz news Web site provided an image of one of two issues of Yazligh, a children’s magazine, which were used as part of the evidence in the case against Moradpour. The issues Tabriz, according to a news article on the Committee of Human Rights Reporters’ Web site. He was released on bail several months later, according to the Tabriz Sesi news Web site. Tabriz Sesi reported that on November 10, 2009, Moradpour was tried with others in Tabriz and two days later was sentenced to three years in prison. Moradpour’s attorney appealed the ruling but the appeals court upheld the sentence on February 9. Tabriz Sesi reported that Moradpour’s attorney said the charges are politically motivated and fabricated. The Committee of Human Rights Reporters’ article noted that in recent months pressure on Azeri civil activists has increased as the Islamic Republic attempts to portray a violent image of this ethnic minority in Iran.
Ahmad Zaid-Abadi, freelance
Imprisoned: June 2009
Zaid-Abadi, who wrote a weekly column for Rooz Online, a Farsi- and English-language reformist news Web site, was arrested in Tehran, according to news reports. Zaid-Abadi is also the director of the Organization of University Alumni of the Islamic Republic of Iran and a supporter of defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi.
Mahdieh Mohammadi, Zaid-Abadi’s wife, was allowed to see the journalist after he had spent 53 days in custody, according to the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle. He told her that he was being held in inhumane conditions. according to the Parleman News Web site. Zaid-Abadi and journalist Massoud Bastani were transferred to Rajaee Shahr Prison in February. His lawyer objected to the transfer, according to the reformist daily Etemad. Rajaee Shahr Prison’s detainees are mostly hardened criminals who are serving sentences for murder and smuggling.
Omid Salimi, Nesf e Jehan
Imprisoned: June 14, 2009
Salimi, a photographer who worked for Nesf e Jehan newspaper in Esfahan, was arrested after being summoned by the Revolutionary Guards to pick up belongings confiscated during an earlier arrest, according to Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran, a local human rights watchdog. Salimi had been detained in December 2008 and had spent three months in prison on unspecified charges.
After his most recent arrest, Salimi was transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran, according to the Iranian Human Rights Activists New Agency. No formal charges have been disclosed.
Kayvan Samimi, Nameh
Imprisoned: June 14, 2009
Samimi, manager of the now-defunct monthly Nameh, is being held in Evin Prison after his arrest in Tehran, according to news reports. Samimi called his family in October to tell them that he was pressured to make a false confession, his lawyer told Rooz Online.
U.S. government-funded Radio Farda. According to the Free Iranian Journalists Web site, on February 22, Samimi was transferred from Evin’s general ward to solitary confinement after he objected to unsuitable prison conditions, and a visit with his family was cancelled.
Saeed Laylaz, Sarmayeh
Imprisoned: June 17, 2009
Laylaz, editor of the daily business journal Sarmayeh and a vocal critic of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s economic policies, was arrested at home on June 17, his wife, Sepharnaz Panahi, told the BBC Persian service. She said that officers searched their home and confiscated videotapes, hard drives, and letters.
Tehran’s Evin Prison before being moved to a group cell, where he was denied newspapers, pen, and paper, his wife told the Committee of Human Rights Reporters.
Laylaz was charged with “congregation and mutiny against national security, propagating against the regime, disrupting public order, and keeping classified documents,” according to Mowjcamp, a news Web site supportive of the defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi.
After a two-hour trial in November, he was sentenced to nine years in prison, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency and online accounts. His wife told the news Web site Kalameh that the “classified document” that was a centerpiece of the prosecution was actually a published and widely available investigation into the Iranian judiciary. Laylaz awaits the results of his appeal, according to the reformist news Web site Jonbesh-e Rah-e Sabz.
Bahman Ahmadi Amouee, freelance
Imprisoned: June 19, 2009
Amouee, a contributor to reformist newspapers such as Mihan, Hamshahri, Jame’e, Khordad, Norooz, and Sharq, and the author of an eponymous blog, was arrested with his wife, Zhila Bani-Yaghoub, according to news reports. Bani-Yaghoub, editor-in-chief of the Iranian Women’s Club, a news Web site focusing on women’s rights, was released on bail on August 19, according to the BBC Persian service.
Amouee was being held in Tehran’s Evin Prison, part of the time in solitary confinement, according to news reports. Amouee’s wife said the journalist was denied access to his family and lawyer for several weeks, according to Mowjcamp, a news Web site supportive of the reformist candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi.
On January 5, Amouee was sentenced to 34 lashes, along with seven years and four months in prison. Amouee’s wife, journalist Zhila Bani-Yaghoub, told Rooz Online on February 21 that he shares a 115-square-foot (35-square-meter) cell with 40 other prisoners.
Hamzeh Karami, Jomhoriyat
Imprisoned: June 19, 2009
According to Nedaye Sabz-e Azadi, Karami, editor of the now-defunct reformist news Web site Jomhoriyat was arrested on June 19, 2009. Jomhoriyat was banned by Iranian authorities on June 12, 2009, according to Asr-e Iran news Web site. Karami is a close ally of reformist politician Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani who was tried in August along with dozens of other suspects. He has been forced to make confessions against himself and others, according to the Reporters and Human Rights Activists of Iran Web site. On February 27, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison and fined 600 million toomans (US$600,000). Some of his charges were “acting against national security through congregation and mutiny intended to disrupt public order,” “propagating against the regime,” “propagating falsehoods,” and “embezzlement” according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.
Issa Saharkhiz, freelance
Imprisoned: July 3, 2009
Saharkhiz, a columnist for the reformist news Web sites Rooz Online and Norooz and a founding member of the Association of Iranian Journalists, was arrested while traveling in northern Iran, the association said in a statement. Saharkhiz’s lawyer said his client faces charges of “participation in riots,” “encouraging others to participate in riots,” and “insulting the supreme leader,” according to Rooz Online.
Saharkhiz has had a long career in journalism. He worked for 15 years for IRNA, Iran’s official news agency, and ran its New York office for part of that time. He returned to Iran in 1997 to work in Mohammad Khatami’s Ministry of Islamic Guidance, in charge of domestic publications. Saharkhiz and a superior, Ahmad Bouraghani, came to be known as the architects of a period of relative freedom for the press in Iran. After Saharkhiz was forced to leave the ministry and was banned from government service in a trial, he founded a reformist newspaper, Akhbar-e Eghtesad, and monthly magazine, Aftab, both of which were eventually banned. Saharkhiz wrote articles directly critical of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader. According to Rooz Online, Issa Saharkhiz is subjected to constant pressure at Evin Prison. His cell was recently changed to keep him from communicating with other journalists. Previously, his punishments included being kept in the prison yard overnight in freezing temperatures without shoes or socks, Rooz Online reported.
Massoud Bastani, Farhikhtegan and Jomhoriyat
Imprisoned: July 5, 2009
Bastani, a journalist for the reformist newspaper Farihikhtegan and Jomhoriyat, a news Web site affiliated with the defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, was arrested when he went to a Tehran court seeking information about his wife, journalist Mehsa Amrabadi, according to local news reports. Amrabadi, arrested along with two other journalists on June 15, was released on August 25.
Bastani was among more than 100 opposition figures and journalists who faced a mass, televised judicial proceeding in August on vague antistate accusations, according to news reports. In September, his lawyer, Mohammad Sharrif, told the Amir Kabir Newsletter Web site that Bastani had spent weeks in solitary confinement.
On October 20, the news site Norooz reported that a court had sentenced Bastani to six years in prison for “propagating against the regime and congregating and mutinying to create anarchy.”
Bastani had been editor-in-chief of the now-banned Neda-ye Eslahat (Voice of Reform) weekly. Bastani was transferred to the Rajaee Shahr Prison for hardened criminals, along with Ahmad Zaid-Abadi, according to the reformist daily Etemad.
Marjan Abdollahian, Hamshahri
Imprisoned: July 9, 2009
The BBC Persian service and other news outlets reported that authorities had detained Abdollahian, a photo editor for the Tehran-based Hamshahri newspaper. Six days after her arrest, she called her family to inform them that she was being held in Evin Prison, according to the news Web site Rooz Online. No formal charges have been disclosed.
Saeed Matin-Pour, Yar Pag and Mouj Bidari
Imprisoned: July 12, 2009
A Revolutionary Court in Tehran convicted Matin-Pour of having “relations with foreigners and propagating against the regime,” according to local news reports. He was sentenced to an eight-year prison term.
Matin-Pour was first arrested in May 2007 and released on bail. He was rearrested in 2009 amid the government’s crackdown on the press. The journalist worked for Yar Pag and Mouj Bidari newspapers in western Azerbaijan province, in addition to writing his own blog, according to local news reports. Matin-Pour suffers from heart and respiratory problems, and his family was not immediately able to secure a medical release for examination outside prison, according to the news Web site Advarnews. According to Savalan Sessi, an Azeri human rights Web site, on February 4, Matin-Pour suffered severe chest pains and prison authorities delayed giving him medical attention. Prison authorities have repeatedly refused Matin-Pour family’s requests for him to receive medical leave.
Reza Nourbakhsh, Farhikhtegan
Imprisoned: August 4, 2009
Authorities took Nourbakhsh, editor-in-chief of the reformist newspaper Farhikhtegan, into custody after searching his home, according to news reports. Nourbakhsh also contributed to Jomhoriyat, a news Web site supportive of the defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi.
Nourbakhsh was among more than 100 opposition figures and journalists who faced a mass, televised judicial proceeding in August on vague antistate accusations, according to news reports. He was sentenced to six years in prison on November 3, although the exact charges against him were not disclosed.
Mohammad Hossein Sohrabi Rad, Saham News
Imprisoned: September 2009
Sohrabi Rad was arrested by Ministry of Information agents on charges of working with Saham News in preparing a documentary on prisoner abuse at the Kahrizak Detention Center, according to the reformist Web site Asr-e Nou. (The detention center was closed in July 2009 after evidence emerged of pervasive abuse of detainees.)
Asr-e Nou reported that Sohrabi Rad had been subjected to physical and psychological pressure at Evin Prison. Authorities transferred Sohrabi Rad from Ward 209, where political prisoners are held, to solitary confinement in Ward 240, according to news reports. A prison doctor said the journalist was suffering greatly in prison, according to the Web site of Human Rights and Democracy Activists of Iran. He was married shortly before his arrest, according to the site.
Mohammad Davari, Saham News
Imprisoned: September 5, 2009
Saham News, a Web site affiliated with presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, reported that its editor-in-chief, Davari, had been detained. Seventeen days after his arrest, the journalist was allowed to contact his family, according to the Tahavolkhani news Web site. His mother said he was being held at Tehran’s Evin Prison.
Davari was brought to trial on November 22 on charges of propagating against the regime, congregation and mutiny for disrupting national security, and creating chaos in public order.
In the weeks after the election, Davari had videotaped the testimony of inmates at Kahrizak Detention Center who alleged they had been raped and abused while in custody, according to the Free Iranian Journalists blog. (The detention center was closed in July 2009 after evidence emerged of pervasive abuse of detainees.)
Javad Mahzadeh, freelance
Imprisoned: October 22, 2009
Mahzadeh, a journalist and novelist, was arrested on his way to work on the orders of the Revolutionary Court’s prosecutor’s office, according to local news reports.
Mahzadeh, a political analyst and a literary critic who wrote for the Web sites Iranian Diplomacy and Baran, is well-known in Iran for the novel Take Away Your Laughter. Authorities confiscated a computer from his home, according to news reports. No formal charges have been disclosed. According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency, Mahzadeh was sentenced to four years in prison on February 3.
Sassan Aghaee, freelance
Imprisoned: November 22, 2009
Security forces raided the home of Aghaee, a seasoned journalist who contributed to a number of newspapers, including Farhikhtegan, Etemad, Tose’eh, Mardom Salari, and Etemad e Melli. He was also author of the blog Free Tribune.
Aghaee is being held at Evin Prison, according to news reports. In a letter the journalist asked to be opened in case of his arrest, Aghaee said any confessions he might make in custody should be disregarded as coerced, according to the reformist Web site Jaras. Norooz News reports that Aghaee’s charges are “actions against national security,” “propagating against the regime,” “disruption of public order,” and “propagating falsehoods,” according to his attorney. His attorney said that his request for bail has not been accepted and that Aghaee remains in prison under “temporary detention” orders that his attorney says are a violation of the law.
Saeed Jalalifar, Committee of Human Rights Reporters
Saeed Kalanaki, Committee of Human Rights Reporters
Imprisoned: December 2, 2009
Jalalifar and Kalanaki, who reported on child labor and political prisoner issues, were arrested after being summoned by the Ministry of Information, the reformist news Web site Kalame reported. According to Jonbesh-e Rah-e Sabz, Jalalifar, Kalanaki, and several other arrested members of Committee of Human Rights Reporters are under pressure in prison to provide confessions, in particular, that they have tieswith the Mojahedeen-e Khalgh organization, an armed opposition group outside Iran. Members of the committee have been prevented from seeing their attorneys, a right guaranteed under the Iranian Constitution. Two of the other arrested members of the committee, Kouhyar Goudarzi and Mehrdad Rahimi, have been charged with heresy, or moharebeh–a capital crime.
Jalalifar and Kalanaki were the first of several committee journalists to be arrested for their work in exposing alleged human rights violations and government malfeasance. Jalalifar was unable to contact his family during the first 40 days of his confinement, according to the committee’s Web site.
Kouhyar Goudarzi, Committee of Human Rights Reporters
Imprisoned: December 20, 2009
Goudarzi, a veteran journalist for the human rights committee, has been charged with moharebeh, or heresy, a capital crime, according to local news reports and the BBC Persian service. Held at Evin Prison, he has also been charged with propagating against the regime and participating in illegal congregations.
Visitors to the prison said Goudarzi’s head was bandaged, although it was not clear how he sustained his injuries, according to the reformist online publication Rooz Online. The human rights committee said judicial authorities have sought to link the organization to external political parties. Kouhyar Goudarzi’s mother told Hammihan News on February 25 that she was only allowed to visit with him for seven minutes after waiting for hours. Goudarzi told his mother that he is resisting pressure to confess to charges of heresy.
Saeed Haeri, Committee of Human Rights Reporters
Shiva Nazar Ahari, Committee of Human Rights Reporters
Imprisoned: December 20, 2009
Nazar Ahari and Haeri were detained while on a bus from Tehran to Qom to attend the funeral of influential cleric Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri. Haeri’s family was unable to visit the journalist until January 24, according to the Amir Kabir Bulletin, an online student news site critical of the Iranian government. No formal charges have been disclosed against Haeri.
Nazar Ahari, at right, had been jailed for four months in the immediate aftermath of the disputed June presidential election. She was free on bail when she was rearrested in December. The reformist Web site Kalame said Nazar Ahari is in solitary confinement at Evin Prison’s Ward 209, where political prisoners are held.
In a meeting with the journalist’s family members, a prosecutor claimed that the human rights committee was affiliated with an armed opposition group, Kalame reported. Nazar Ahari has been charged with illegal congregation, according to the committee’s Web site.
Mohammad Nourizad, freelance
Imprisoned: December 20, 2009
The BBC Persian service reported that Nourizad, a blogger and documentary filmmaker, was arrested after he wrote an open letter to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei urging him to apologize for the government’s post-election conduct, and an article criticizing the head of Iran’s judiciary.
The government-run Mehr News said Nourizad is charged with “insulting authorities” and “propagating against the regime.” On January 5, security officers raided Nourizad’s home, seizing his computer and documents, according to the pro-opposition news Web site Jonbesh-e Rah-e Sabz.
Held at Evin Prison, Nourizad has waged a hunger strike, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency. Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz reported that Nourizad’s wife was denied visitation rights.
Nourizad had once written for Kayhan, a newspaper closely associated with conservative elements in the government, but he distanced himself from the publication after the disputed June presidential election. Kayhan has repeatedly attacked Nourizad and his writing since that time, according to CPJ research.
Emadeddin Baghi, freelance
Imprisoned: December 23, 2009
Baghi, the prominent Iranian author, journalist, and human rights activist, was arrested after being summoned to the security division of the Revolutionary Court, according to the reformist Ayandeh News Web site.
When Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri died in December, the BBC Persian service aired a two-year old interview that Baghi had conducted with the influential cleric. Baghi was arrested soon after the rebroadcast. The government has sought to clamp down on publicity about Montazeri, who had criticized the conduct of the June presidential election.
Baghi has been arrested numerous times in the past. In 2000, he was sentenced to five and a half years in prison on charges of “questioning Islamic law,” “threatening national security,” and “spreading unsubstantiated news” in articles detailing the roles of intelligence agents in a series of politically motivated murders. He served three years in prison before being released. He was arrested again in 2007 and served several months for “acting against national security,” according to local and international news reports. According to a February 10 report on Jonbesh-e Rah-e Sabz‘s Web site, Baghi’s initial interrogations are done, but he is still in solitary confinement. He has not been allowed access to any books, including the Quran, and he has not been allowed to have any visitors. His family has expressed concern about his health. Baghi’s general arrest warrant issued in December stated he was detained to “prevent abuse of Ayatollah Montazeri’s death.”
Alireza Beheshti Shirazi, Kalameh Sabz
Imprisoned: December 23, 2009
Shirazi, editor-in-chief of the now-defunct reformist daily Kalameh Sabz, was taken from his home and brought to an unknown location, according to international news reports.
Shirazi had been arrested and released in the aftermath of the disputed June presidential election. At the time, he had given interviews to foreign-language news media about the post-election turmoil. In a February 28 interview with Kaleme, Beheshti’s family members expressed their concern about a lack of information about his case. They have not been allowed to see him and he has only been allowed to call them once. His son told Kaleme that he does not know whether Beheshti’s interrogations are over or what his charges are, but knows that remains in solitary confinement.
Arvin Sedaghat Kish, Farhang va Ahang
Imprisoned: December 27, 2009
Sedaghat Kish, a writer for the culture and arts magazine Farhang va Ahang, was the first of three journalists for the monthly publication to be arrested, according to CPJ research. Kish, who is also a musician, wrote for other magazines and Web sites, including Harmony Talk, according to the BBC Persian service. No formal charges have been disclosed.
Morteza Kazemian, Jonbesh-e Rah-Sabz and freelance
Imprisoned: December 29,2009
Kazemian has written regularly for the opposition news Web site Jonbesh-e Rah-e Sabz since its inception this year, the news Web site reported. Fahimeh Mellati, Kazemian’s wife, told Mizan News that he has received a bail order of 100 million toomans (US$100,000) and his family is trying to raise the money. He was arrested once before, in 2002, and posted his 100 million tooman (US$100,000) bail by handing a property deed over to the court.
Kayvan Mehregan, Etemad
Imprisoned: December 29, 2009
Mehregan is the editor of the political section of the reformist daily Etemad. Authorities arrested him at his office, according to local news reports. According to the Mizan News Web site, Mehregan’s brother told reporters on February 27 that Kayvan was granted a bail order for 100 million toomans (US$100,000) and that the family is trying to raise the large sum for his release. His charges were announced as membership in the self-described “national religious” opposition Nehzat-e Azadi Party, but conservative newspapers and Web sites later accuse him of being affiliated with separatist organizations, according to the same Mizan News report.
Badressadat Mofidi, Iranian Journalists Association
Imprisoned: December 29, 2009
Mofidi writes articles and conducts interviews with national and international media outlets as secretary of the Iranian Journalists Association, according to local news reports. She had discussed the government’s press policies in a December 22 interview with the Persian service of the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle. No formal charges have been disclosed against her. According to Rooz Online, Mofidi’s family is concerned about her health; it is not clear whether she has access to her medications for a blood disease. She is currently in Evin Prison’s “Methadone Ward,” which is said to have substandard hygiene standards.
Omid Montazeri, freelance
Imprisoned: December 30, 2009
Montazeri faces charges related to his participation in Ashura Day protests on December 28, 2009, along with his published articles and interviews with foreign news outlets, his aunt told the reformist news site Farhang-e Goft-o Goo. The site said Montazeri has denied all charges. Montazeri is being tried along with 15 other people, some of whom face charges as serious as the capital crime of moharebeh, or heresy.
Defense attorneys have been obstructed in their efforts to confer with Montazeri and review his file, the journalist’s sister told the U.S. government-funded Radio Farda. Government media have published Montazeri’s “confessions,” which his sister said appear to be coerced. She said she is deeply concerned about the physical and psychological conditions in which her brother is being held.
Montazeri was arrested a day after his mother, peace activist Mahin Fahimi was taken into custody, according to Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz Web site. Montazeri‘s father was executed for his political activities in 1988. Montazeri was sentenced to six years in prison on February 27, according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters.
Mehrdad Rahimi, Committee of Human Rights Reporters
Imprisoned: January 1, 2010
Mehrdad Rahimi and Parisa Kakaee, journalists for the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, were arrested after being summoned by the Ministry of Information, the reformist news Web site Kalame reported. Several other committee journalists have been arrested for their work in exposing alleged human rights violations and government malfeasance. Kakaee was released in late February.
Rahimi told his family that interrogators said he would be charged with the capital crime, moharebeh, or heresy, Kalame said. The charge was formally announced in late January, according to the BBC Persian service. In a February 21, article, the Committee of Human Rights Reporters reported that in a meeting with his family, Rahimi told them he has been under pressure to make televised confessions, but he has maintained that he is innocent, and called his arrest illegal.
Yadollah Eslami, Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz
Imprisoned: January 4, 2010
Eslami, former editor of the long-banned newspaper Fath, wrote most recently for Jonbesh-e-Rah-e-Sabz, a Web site that had backed reformist presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi.
Eslami’s family publicized the arrest on January 27 after losing hope for a timely release. Eslami, who is also a practicing ophthalmologist, was arrested at a Tehran medical facility, according to Parleman News, the official Web site of the minority factions in the Iranian parliament.
Mostafa Dehghan, freelance
Imprisoned: January 8, 2010
Dehghan wrote about social issues for several newspapers and the women’s rights Web site Change for Equality, according to Jonbesh-e Rah-e Sabz. He is in Evin Prison’s Ward 209, where political prisoners are held. The Web site Jmin News said Dehghan called his family in mid-January, but he said he did not know why he had been detained.
Mehraneh Atashi, freelance
Imprisoned: January 11, 2010
Atashi, a freelance photographer, and her husband were arrested at their home, according to the U.S. government-funded Radio Farda and other news sources. Agents seized some of the couple’s personal items, including their computer, news reports said.
Atashi, 30, has worked for several domestic publications, such as Soroush Javan and Hamshahri Javan, according to Kalame Web site, and her work has been exhibited in the U.S. and Europe. Information on her husband or either of their charges was not immediately available.
Lili Farhadpour, freelance
Imprisoned: January 21, 2010
Farhadpour, a veteran journalist who has written about cultural and social issues for reformist newspapers, was arrested by security forces at her home. She is also the mother of Behrang Tonekaboni, editor-in-chief of Fahang va Ahang, who was arrested on January 6. Though Behrang Tonekaboni was released on February 28, Lili Farhadpour remains at Evin Prison. No formal charges have been disclosed.
Imprisoned: January 21, 2010
Pourostad, a well-known Iranian journalist who has published several books, was arrested at home on the night of February 9 on a warrant issued by the Tehran prosecutor’s office, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. His home was later searched and his laptop computer and handwritten notes were confiscated. Arresting officers did not give his family reasons for his arrest. According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Poorostad called his home at the end of February and said he is in Ward 240 of Evin Prison.
Pourostad served on the editorial boards of Mosharekat, Yas-e No, and Vaghaye Ettefaghieh newspapers and wrote for reformist newspapers Etemad e Melli, Mosharekat, and Salam. He was also one of the founding members of the editorial board of Etemad e Melli, but was dismissed from his position last year. Farhikhtegan was the last newspaper on whose editorial board Pourostad served, according to another news item by the same advocacy group.
Pourostad is the author and producer of a book series related to legal documents pertaining to the Iranian press.
Ali Mohammad Eslampour, Navaye Vaght and freelance
Imprisoned: February 2, 2010
Eslampour, an editor-in-chief in Kermanshah Province who also writes a blog, was arrested on February 2, according to the reformist news Web site Hammihan. He was summoned to the Revolutionary Courts of Kermanshah on charges of “propagating falsehoods with the goal of creating public anxiety,” and “using abusive language through writing in blogs.” Navaye Vaght was supportive of Mir Hossein Mousavi during his elections campaign.
Niloufar Laripour, Chelcheragh and freelance
Imprisoned: February 2, 2010
According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency, Laripour, a magazine journalist, poet, and lyricist, was arrested on February 2 when she arrived at a Ministry of Information office after being summoned over the telephone. Security officers later accompanied her to her home where they took personal items, including notebooks and her computer. According to the agency’s report, she had received a call at 6:30 p.m. to appear at the Ministry of Information office at 7 p.m. to answer a few questions. Her sister told reporters that Laripour was not involved in political activities and that she was in charge of the lyrics section of Chelcheragh magazine, which mostly publishes lyrics and history of religious songs. The same report says she was active in Mir Hussein Mousavi’s election campaign. Laripour is being held in Evin Prison. No formal charges have been disclosed.
Nooshin Jafari, Etemad and freelance
Imprisoned: February 3, 2010
One of the youngest imprisoned journalists at 22, Jafari is a reporter with Etemad’s arts and culture section. According to the Web site of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, she was arrested after midnight on February 3 at her home. Security officers searched the premises and confiscated personal items including her computer. Jafari is a founding member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, though she has not been involved with the Web site since she started writing for Etemad. No formal charges have been disclosed.
Naeemeh Doostdar, Jam-e-Jam
Imprisoned: February 6, 2010
Doostdar is a journalist, writer, and poet who wrote for the arts and culture of the conservative pro-government daily Jam-e-Jam. Prior to Jam-e-Jam, she worked with Farhang (Culture) Radio and magazines in the Hamshahri publishing group, which is owned by a Tehran municipality. According to Rooz Online, Doostdar was arrested by security forces on February 6 and was transferred to Evin Prison.
The Web site of Reporters and Human Rights Activists, an organization that covers human rights abuses inside Iran, reported that no formal charges against Doostdar have been disclosed.
Akbar Montajebi, Etemad
Imprisoned: February 7, 2010
ontajebi is an experienced journalist who has written for Sobh-e Emruz, Shargh, Hammihan, Norooz, Mosharekat, Vaghaye Etefaghieh, Yas-e Now, Bahar, and Etemad Melli newspapers and Payam-e Emruz, Shahrvand-e Emruz, and Irandokht magazines. He was arrested at 2 a.m. on February 7 at his home, according to the reformist Web site Nedaye Sabz Azadi. In an interview with Rooz Online, his wife expressed concern about Montajebi’s arrest and prolonged detention. She said he has only been allowed to call home twice during his detention, and that each call lasted only three minutes. She said it appears that Montajebi is not allowed to discuss his location and his charges with his family. The journalist’s wife has multiple sclerosis, which she says has been exacerbated after her husband’s arrest, rendering her incapable of caring for their 10-year-old daughter.
Somayeh Momeni, Nasim-e Bidari
Imprisoned: February 7, 2010
Momeni, a journalist with Nasim-e Bidari magazine and a women’s rights activist was arrested by security officers at 3 a.m. on February 7 at her home and transferred to an unknown location, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency. Momeni had previously worked as a reporter for the ISNA News Agency, reported Nedaye Sabz e Azadi, a pro-opposition news Web site. No formal charges have been disclosed.
Zeinab Kazemkhah, ISNA News Agency
Imprisoned: February 7, 2010
Kazemkhah, a reporter with ISNA, a state news agency, was arrested by Ministry of Information officers at 3 a.m. on February 7 at her home and transferred to an unknown location, according to The Feminist School, a Web site dedicated to Iranian women’s movement issues and news. The officers showed her a warrant for her arrest in which her charge was stated as “participating in congregations,” the Nedaye Sabz-e Azadi Web site reported.
Ehsan Mehrabi, reporter, Farhikhtegan
Imprisoned: February 7, 2010
Mehrabi, a reporter on parliamentary affairs for Farhikhtegan newspaper, was arrested at his home on February 7, according to the Nedaye Sabz-e Azadi Web site. According to a February 24 article on Rooz Online, in a phone call to his family, Mehrabi told them he had not been told his charges. This was his second phone call to his family, which has been unable to receive permission to visit him in prison. He has, however, asked his family to raise 30 million toomans (US$30,000) bail. He told his wife that he did not know why he had been arrested.
Hamid Mafi, freelance journalist and blogger
Imprisoned: February 9, 2010
According to Rooz Online, Mafi was arrested on February 9, in the city of Qazvin.
CPJ has been unable to determine where he is being held or what his charges are. According to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, Mafi, who is a political writer, wrote for local publications in Qazvin, including Hadis weekly, as well as in national publications such as Shargh newspaper, and reformist papers such as Etemad, Etemad-e Melli, and Kargozaran. Mafi had previously been the political editor of Farhang-e Ashti newspaper in Tehran and worked there for several months until December 2008 when he returned to Qazvin.
Ali Malihi, Etemad, Irandokht, Shahrvand-e Emruz, and Mehrnameh
Imprisoned: February 9, 2010
Malihi, a journalist with multiple publications and a council member of the Iranian Students Association (Advar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat) was arrested and transferred to an unknown location on February 9, according to a report by the Committee of Human Rights Reporters. According to the Web site Advar News, he is in solitary confinement in Ward 240 of Evin Prison. He was allowed to make one telephone call to his family. His charges remain unknown.
On February 27, Jonbesh-e Rah-e Sabz, among other publications, published a petition signed by 250 civil society activists demanding his release, stating that he is a journalist who is not involved in politics.
Hengameh Shahidi, journalist, Etemad e Melli
Imprisoned: February 25, 2010
According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran’s Web site,
Shahidi faces charges of “propagating against the regime, mutiny, illegal congregation, membership in an organization that has acted against national security, and insulting the president.”
Shahidi was previously arrested on June 30, 2009, and released on bail of 90 million toomans (US$90,000) on October 31, 2009. In November, a court sentenced her to six years and three months in prison. She was released pending an appeal.
On February 24, Branch 54 of the Revolutionary Courts affirmed her sentence, dropping only the charge of “insulting the president.” Shahidi was arrested again the following day, according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters.
Shahidi worked for Mehdi Karroubi’s presidential campaign and has written about Iranian and international politics, human rights, and specifically women’s rights. She is known as a reformist journalist and has written many articles in support of “stop stoning” campaigns.