New York, August 3, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed by news reports in Iran indicating that furloughed journalists are being summoned back to prison while new journalists continue to be convicted on manufactured charges. Reports of journalists' deteriorating physical and mental health are equally disturbing.
"That the legal rights of accused and imprisoned journalists in Iran are disregarded with regularity has been established beyond a doubt by scores of individual cases documented by CPJ and others," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "Multiple legal analyses have also outlined how the authorities are indifferent to the letter and the spirit of Iranian law in their vindictive pursuit of journalists who are viewed as political adversaries to be silenced or eliminated."
New York, July 20, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed to learn that veteran Iranian journalist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin has been summoned to serve a 16-month prison term that was unjustly levied in 2010.
Shamsolvaezin is a journalist, political analyst, deputy chairman of the now-defunct Iranian Journalists Association, and spokesman for the Committee for the Defense of Freedom of the Press. In December 2010, he was sentenced to 16 months in prison on charges of "insulting the president" and "weakening the Islamic Republic regime."
New York, July 8, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is disturbed by the Iranian government's persistent mistreatment of detained journalists as well as news reports that authorities have arrested two additional journalists in recent days.
"We are profoundly disturbed by media reports and testimonies indicating that Iran's prison and judicial authorities continue to engage in abusive and retaliatory tactics against detained journalists," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. "Making matters worse, the authorities continue to detain new journalists at an alarmingly steady pace."
As I read the account of Saeeda Siabi in an Iranian prison it became hard for me to breathe. Her descriptions of being raped in front of her 4-month-old son stopped the air in my chest. "They took me to a torture room and tied me to a bed," she said. "I was wounded and injured, but I forgot about wounds and injuries. I thought I was fainting."
The depiction of the violence endured by Siabi--an Iranian housewife imprisoned for more than four years because of her politically active family--must be read in its entirety to fully appreciate. But it also must be read to understand what has happened to thousands of women and men held, like her, in fetid Iranian jails over decades. Journalists, activists, bloggers--these political prisoners have suffered torture on a nightmarish scale.
Two of the world’s most repressive nations each forced at least 18 journalists to flee their homes in the past year. In exile, these journalists face enormous challenges. A CPJ special report by Elisabeth Witchel.
In 2007, my colleague Karen Phillips suggested we do something to mark World Refugee Day. Initially planning to publish a brief statement, I set about reviewing our data for background, checking in with older journalist cases about their current situation and looking broadly for trends to highlight. As the number of cases began counting into the hundreds, it became clear that what we had was a new indicator of press freedom conditions. Today, we're marking our fifth year of publishing the CPJ survey of journalists in exile, which is based on 10 years of data on 649 cases.
New York, June 15, 2011--Iran's ongoing assault against independent and opposition media has recently gained momentum, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. In recent weeks, a journalist died in custody for what his family said was a lack of adequate medical care, the government sentenced another journalist to 20 years in prison, arrested one more, and confirmed a 19 and a half year prison term for a blogger known as the "Blogfather."
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