Shargh Newspaper Raided, Four Arrested
A source in Tehran told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that three editorial members of Shargh newspaper were arrested on Tuesday. Security forces stormed the newspaper’s offices and arrested editor-in-chief Ahmad Gholami, political desk editor Kayvan Mehrgan, and the international desk editor Farzaneh Roostaei. During a second raid, the newspaper’s financial investor Ali Khodabakhsh was also arrested. Gholami is an experienced journalist who was formerly the literary editor of Hamshahri newspaper before joining Shargh. Mehrgan was an editor in the previous iteration of Shargh‘s publication. None of those arrested had any prior records of political activity and are all considered among the most respected journalists.
The source told the Campaign that no one has any information about the reason for the arrests. “None of the arrested had any political activities and they were only journalists. We are shocked that no independent newspaper lasts very long. The Shargh newspaper was very discrete and seemed to observe the [government’s censorship] red lines,” the source said.
Shargh Newspaper was banned on 6 August 2007 after several years of publication, but the ban was lifted on 15 September 2009. The newspaper resumed publication on 11 April, while some of its most celebrated staff, including former editor-in-chief Mohammad Atrianfar, were arrested and sent to prison following post-election unrest. According to the source, when the paper was re-opened security authorities told the newspaper to refrain from employing some of the more prominent journalists. “The newspaper was allowed to resume publication only after observing the recommendations,” the source said.