Iran cracks down on journalists despite international outcry
The Iranian authorities must release journalists arrested in the past three days and accused of cooperating with "anti-revolutionary" Persian-language media organizations outside Iran, Amnesty International said. The organization believes further waves of arrests are planned. Underpinning this fear is today’s arrest of Bahar Newspaper Economics Editor, Ali Dehghan. A statement attributed to Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence declares: “The investigation will be continued until the last individual linked to this network is arrested and the propaganda of the foreign media and so-called human rights organizations and the statements… no longer have influence on the strong will of the soldiers of Emam e-Zaman [Ministry of Intelligence officials].” “Today’s statement by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence is intended to intimidate Iranian journalists who have contact with non-government sources,” said Drewery Dyke, Amnesty International’s Iran researcher. “In light of the filming carried out by state officials at the home of at least one of those detained and Iran’s track record of parading detainees before cameras to ‘confess’ to crimes they patently did not commit, we fear the authorities are preparing to film and broadcast ‘confessions’ of those detained in order to secure future convictions. They should think twice before repeating such a kind of grotesque theatre.” Amnesty International urgently calls on Iran’s security agencies and judiciary to commit to guaranteeing that people in Iran can peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association, including in the run-up to the presidential election scheduled for June; and to commit to fair procedures in the administration of justice.