200 Journalists Demand Swift Release of Their Colleagues Arrested in Iran
Nearly 200 Iranian journalists both inside and outside Iran have signed a statement objecting to the widespread arrests of their fellow journalists in Iran which began on Sunday, January 27, and has continued this week. The journalists asked Iran’s judicial authorities to release their colleagues immediately and prove that they respect the law.
“What intensifies our concern is statements made by the Spokesperson for the Judiciary prior to the arrests, in which he said that according to information he has received from ‘reliable sources,’ a group of journalists, in addition to writing for the country’s newspapers, have their hands in the hands of Westerners and anti-revolutionaries,” the journalists said in their statement, referring to statements made by Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei of the Iranian Judiciary.
“Our objection is that the Judiciary Spokesperson talks about the planned arrests of the journalists, as if according to the legal procedures, they have been tried in public session courts, with access to defense lawyers, and in the presence of a jury, and have been convicted and now all that is left is the news briefing about them,” the journalists stated.
“We, journalists, demand the judicial authorities to swiftly release the arrested journalists and to prove that they respect the laws,” the statement adds.
On the evening of Sunday, January 27, which the Iranian press community now calls “the Black Sunday,” 11 journalists who worked at Bahar, Shargh, Arman, and Etemad newspapers and Aseman Weekly, were arrested. The previous day, two other journalists had been arrested.
On Monday, January 28, journalists Saba Azarpeik, Hossein Yaghchi, and Keyvan Mehregan were added to the list of detainees, and on Wednesday, January 30, Ali Dehghan, Editor of Bahar Newspaper’s Economy Desk was also arrested. Today Reyhaneh Tabatabaee and Fatemeh Sagharchi have been arrested. So far 16 journalists have been arrested in five days. The arrested journalists who worked in various areas, including politics, literature, economics, and arts are: Pouria Alemi, Pejman Mousavi, Emily Amraee, Akbar Montajabi, Sasan Aghaee, Javad Daliri, Nasrin Takhayori, Narges Joudaki, Keyvan Mehregan, Hossein Yaghchi, Saba Azarpeik, Ali Dehghan, Soleiman Mohammadi, Milad Fadai Asl, Reyhaneh Tabatabaee, and Fatemeh Sagharchi.
Motahareh Shafiee was also among those arrested, but was released shortly after her arrest due to illness.