AFP-TehranStreet-1.jpg
Iranians walk past street art in the southwestern district of Tehran in January 2016. Security agents arrested two journalists in the city in August (AFP/Atta Kenare)

CPJ calls on Iran to release two detained journalists

August 30, 2017 5:30 PM ET

New York, August 30, 2017--Iranian authorities should immediately release Sasan Aghaei and Yaghma Fashkhami, two journalists detained in Tehran, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Security agents on August 12 arrested Aghaei at the offices of Etemaad Daily, the reformist newspaper where he works as a political columnist, according to reports. Authorities have not stated publicly the reason for his arrest. Separately, security agents arrested Fashkhami, a reporter for Didban Iran, at the news website's Tehran office on August 21, according to reports. According to the reformist news website Kalame, authorities have not charged Fashkhami. The journalist previously worked for the Iranian newspaper Rozan, which authorities shut down in December 2014, according to BBC Persian.

CPJ attempted to contact Iran's administrative court of justice but the online contact form on its website did not work. CPJ was unable to locate contact information for Etemaad Daily or Didban Iran.

"Despite President Hassan Rouhani's promises to allow the Iranian media to operate freely, authorities seem intent on continuing to jail journalists," said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. "Iranian authorities must immediately release Sasan Aghaei and Yaghma Fashkhami."

Aghaei is detained in Evin prison, his family told the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran. The family said that they went to the prison on August 16, but authorities barred them from seeing Aghaei. CPJ could not determine where Fashkhami is being held.

Iranian authorities continue to crack down on the independent press, CPJ has found. This month, the country's judiciary banned employees from the BBC's Persian news service from selling property and assets in the country. Ahead of elections in May, authorities arrested several administrators of Telegram channels operated by reformist news sites and disclosed new registration requirements for the app.

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