CPJ condemns Iran’s jailing of journalists

New York, April 26, 2016 — The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemns an Iranian court’s sentencing of three reformist journalists. Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced the three to between five and 10 years in prison on charges of “acting against national security,” according to press reports.

“Convicting journalists for ‘acting against national security’ underlines the need to change the overbroad laws that lead to the harassment and jailing of the media,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “Iranian authorities must cease imprisoning journalists.”

Security officials arrested the journalists in November 2015. Ehsan Mazandarani, a reporter for the reformist daily Etemad, was sentenced to seven years in prison. Saman Sarfarzaee, also known by the name Ehsun Sarfarzaee, a journalist for the reformist newspaper Andisheh Pouya, and Iran Daily newspaper columnist Afarin Chitsaz, were each sentenced to five years in prison. The court also sentenced Davood Asadi to 10 years in prison, according to press reports. Asadi is the brother of Houshang Asadi, the co-founder of the Rooz Online opposition news website, which is published from outside Iran, and is not himself a journalist, Houshang Asadi told CPJ.

Defense attorneys told reporters that the four would appeal the convictions.