18/10/2012 English

Journalist Cases Supporting the Special Rapporteur’s September 2012 Report

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 This supplement provides documented cases of detained journalists that served as part of the basis of Dr. Shaheed’s September 2012 report presented to the UNGA. The documentation is based on primary interviews and secondary research conducted for the September 2012 report (Click here for full supplement).

Report Supplement
Septmber 13, 2012
  


V.
Journalists – New Arrests, Releases, and Trends

23. Arbitrary arrests and detention of reporters and netizens continued in recent months. Most arrests were related to alleged political activity, “criticizing the regime,” or “disturbing public order,” but some were detained on apparently unrelated trumped-up charges.

24. June 2012: On 30 June 2012, Reporters Without Borders reported the arrest of Mohammad Solimaninya, head of the social networking site u24, after he was summoned to Tehran’s Evin prison. The netizen had been previously arrested on 10 January 2012 and released on bail. On 9 June 2012, lawyer Farideh Gheirat was informed that his client, the feminist journalist Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani, had been handed a one-year suspended prison sentence by the 26th chamber of the Tehran revolutionary court. She is the founder of The Feminist School website and co-organizer of the “One Million Signatures for Equality” campaign calling for the reform of laws that discriminate against women. The journalist Bahman Ahamadi Amoee, who had been held in Evin prison since 20 June 2009, was transferred on 12 June to Rajai Shahr jail in the northern town of Karaj, where violent criminals are housed, after he took part in a ceremony organized by prisoners in an Evin prison dormitory in memory of the journalist and writer Hoda Saber, who died on 12 June after a hunger strike.[12]

25. May 2012: Reporters Without Borders reported that Sam Mahmoudi Sarabi, a journalist with the newspaper Shargh, was re-arrested on 28 May 2012 because the person guaranteeing his bail of 150 million tomans (approximately US$12,200) refused to continue acting as guarantor. This was Sarabi’s third arrest. On 6 May 2012, two journalists from the website of the Beheshti Foundation, Meisam Mohammadi and Omid Mohadess, were each sentenced to four years’ imprisonment and banned from working in journalism and engaging in political activity for five years. They were arrested at their homes by plainclothes police in February 2010.

26. April 2012: Mehran Faraji, a journalist with the newspaper Shargh and the now-closed newspaper Etemad Melli, was arrested on 3 April in order to serve a six-month jail sentence on a charge of anti-government propaganda. Rihaneh Tabatabai, another Shargh journalist, was notified on 2 April that a Tehran revolutionary court had sentenced her to a year in prison. The netizen Mansoureh Behkish also learned that in March or April 2012 a Tehran revolutionary court had sentenced her to four-and-a-half years in prison on charges of anti-government propaganda and creating the “Mothers in Mourning” movement in order to “meet and conspire against national security.”

27. Recently-Released Journalists: Ehssan Hoshmand, a journalist and sociologist who specializes in the history of the Kurdish people, was released on bail on 23 April. He was arrested at his home on 7 January. Reza Taleshaian Jolodarzadeh, the editor of the weekly Sobeh Azadi, was freed on 17 April after being held for two-and-a-half months. He suffers from a chronic illness resulting from an injury sustained during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance suspended his newspaper on 19 October 2011 after it ran a photo of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Blogger and human rights activist Kouhyar Goudarzi, who kept a blog called Kouhyar, was released on bail on 12 April, but in May, a Tehran revolutionary court sentenced Goudarzi to five years in jail and internal exile: he is supposed to serve his time in prison in the northeastern city of Zahedan. On 2 August 2011, Goudarzi’s mother, Parvin Mokhtare, was arrested at her home in the eastern city of Kerman and was sentenced by a Kerman revolutionary court to 23 months in prison. She was freed on 19 March. On 10 March, Rahim Sarkar, editor of the weekly Hadiss Qazvin, was freed after payment of bond. He was arrested on 8 March after being summoned to the revolutionary court in the city of Qazvin. He had been charged on 27 February with “publishing false information with the aim of disturbing public opinion.” According to the prosecution, “The newspaper published in its latest edition, images of prisons, poverty, executions, etc. in order to paint a bleak picture of the country. The accompanying article forecast a poor turnout at the parliamentary election on 12 March.” In late February 2012, Parastoo Dokoohaki, a blogger and women’s rights activist, Sahamoldin Borghani, a journalist who writes for the news website Irdiplomacy, and Marzieh Rasouli, who contributes to the arts and culture sections of several newspapers, were released on bail. They were originally arrested on 15 and 18 January and held in solitary confinement in Sections 209 and 2A of Tehran’s Evin prison, which are run by the Intelligence Ministry and the Revolutionary Guards. The three were part of a January 2012 sweep of journalists accused of collaborating with, gathering information for, and producing content for the BBC.

Table 5
Newly-Imprisoned Journalists – Since January 2012
17

 

Name

Date of Arrest

Arrest Details / Charges

1. Mr. Mohammad Solimaninya

30-Jun-2012

Head of the social networking site u24, Solimaniya was arrested after he was summoned to Tehran’s Evin prison.The netizen had been previously arrested on 10 January this year then released on bail on 22 May on payment of a bond.

2. Ms. Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani

9-Jun-12

Lawyer Farideh Gheirat was informed that his client, the feminist journalist Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani, had been handed a one-year suspended prison sentence by the 26th chamber of the Tehran revolutionary court. She is the founder of the Feminist School website and co-organizer of the “One Million Signatures for Equality” campaign calling for the reform of laws that discriminate against women.

3. Mr. Bahman Ahamadi Amoee

20-Jun-09; transferred to violent criminal facility on 12-Jun12.

The journalist Bahman Ahamadi Amoee, who had been held in Evin prison since 20 June 2009, was transferred on 12 June to Rajai Shahr jail in the northern town of Karaj after he took part in a ceremony organized by prisoners in an Evin prison dormitory in memory of the journalist and writer Hoda Saber, who died on 12 June after a hunger strike.

4. Mr. Sam Mahmoudi Sarabi

28-May-12; 9-Jan-11; a third prior arrest.

Sam Mahmoudi Sarabi, a journalist with the newspaper Shargh, was re-arrested on 28 May 2012 because the person guaranteeing his bail of 150 million tumans refused to continue acting as guarantor. He was Arrested on 9 January 2011 for the second time in less than two years, and spent five months in prison before being released on bail on 9 May 2011, pending trial.

5. Mr. Meisam Mohammadi

6-May-12; Feb-10

Meisam Mohammadi was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment on 6 May 2012, and banned from working in journalism and engaging in political activity for five years. He was previously arrested at his home by plainclothes police in February 2010 and released on bail after two months, pending trial.

6. Mr. Omid Mohadess

6-May-12; Feb-10

Omid Mohadess was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment on 6 May 2012, and banned from working in journalism and engaging in political activity for five years. He was previously arrested at his home by plainclothes police in February 2010 and released on bail after two months, pending trial.18

7. Mr. Mehran Faraji

3-Apr-12

A journalist with the newspaper Shargh and the now-closed newspaper Etemad Melli, was arrested on 3 April 2012 in order to serve a six-month jail sentence on a charge of anti-government propaganda.

8. Ms. Rihaneh Tabatabai

2-Apr-12; 12-Dec-10

Another Shargh journalist, Tabatabai was notified on 2 April 2012 that a Tehran revolutionary court had sentenced her to a year in prison. Originally arrested at her home by Intelligence Ministry officials on 12 December 2010, she was freed on 16 January 2011 on bail.

9. Ms. Mansoureh Behkish

N/A

The netizen Mansoureh Behkish recently learned that a Tehran revolutionary court sentenced her to four-and-a-half years in prison on charges of anti-government propaganda and creating the “Mothers in Mourning” movement in order to “meet and conspire against national security.”

10. Ms. Tahmineh Monzavi

19-Feb-12

Tahmineh Monzavi was arrested by officials of the Intelligence Ministry at her workplace on 19 February 2012. Her family does not know the reasons for her arrest or where she is being held.

11. Mr. Mehdi Khazali

Apr-12

The Tehran revolutionary court sentenced Mehdi Khazali, editor of the Baran blog, to 14 years’ imprisonment, 10 years’ internal exile in the southwestern city of Borazjan, and 70 lashes. He was arrested on 9 January 2012 for the third time in less than two years. Khazali is the son of Ayatollah Abolghasem Khazali, an influential member of the Council of Guardians of the Iranian Constitution for the past three decades. Khazali has been very critical of the government’s policies and human rights violations on his blog, which has been hacked and is no longer accessible.

12. Mr. Sharam Golshani

Apr-12

Sharam Golshani was the head of the currency conversion site Mesghal. The site, which gives exchange rates for the Iranian rial and foreign currencies, was accused of contributing to the fall of the rial against the U.S. dollar.19

13. Mr. Said Razavi Faghih

22-Jan

Said Razavi Faghih, a journalist and former student leader who has worked for several reformist newspapers, was detained at Tehran airport on 22 January after arriving in the country from France where he had lived since 2004. He was studying philosophy in Paris.

14, 15, 16, 17 (No names provided by authorities)

30-Jan-12

Iran’s police responsible for Internet security announced the arrest of two men and two women accused of creating a network aimed at corrupting Iranian youth by “promoting prostitution and immorality.” The cyber police have taken control of the Facebook page “Daf & Paf” which the group is alleged to have set up. The page, which has nearly 27,000 members, encouraged male and female participants to take part in an online beauty contest by submitting photographs of themselves.

18. Mr. Peyman Pakmehr

17-Jan-12

Peyman Pakmehr, the editor of the Tabriz News website, was arrested by local Intelligence Ministry officials in the northwestern city of Tabriz on 17 January 2012 on the orders of prosecutors in Tehran, and was transferred to Tehran’s Evin prison. The reason for his arrest is still not known.

19. Mr. Saeed Madani

7-Jan-12

Journalist Saeed Madani, was arrested by plainclothes men at his Tehran home on 7 January 2012. Confirming his arrest the next day, Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said they had “envisaged carrying out American plans to disrupt the parliamentary elections by using cyber-space and social networks.”

20. Ms. Nazanin Khosravan

March012 (Summoned)

Nazanin Khosravani, a political columnist for several now-banned reformist newspapers, was summoned to Tehran’s Evin Prison in early March to serve the six-year prison term she was handed in February 2011 on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” and “propagating against the regime.” Khosravani was arrested in November 2010 and spent 132 days in prison with much of her time in solitary confinement.

21. Mr. Reza Ansari Rad

3-May-12 (Summoned)

A freelance journalist who has worked for reformist newspapers, Rad was summoned on 3 May 2012 to serve a one-year term in Evin Prison, according to Iran’s Committee of Human Rights Reporters, a leading organization of journalists who document human rights abuses. In September 2011, a Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced him to prison for “propagating against the regime,” news reports said. Rad is in poor physical condition and has suffered two seizures while in perison. When he appeared at the court on 3 May, he was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison, where he is currently inside Ward 350.

22. Ms. Mahsa Amrabadi

9-May-12 (Summonned)

Amrabadi worked for reformist publications including Etemad-e Melli; was summoned to Evin Prison on 9 May 2012 to serve a one-year prison sentence, according to reformist news websites. A Tehran Revolutionary Court had sentenced her in late February to a year in prison and a four-year suspended term on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security,” according to news reports. Her husband, the imprisoned journalist Massoud Bastani, is serving a six-year prison term at Rajaee Shahr Prison..


Table 5a
Journalists Recently Released or Awaiting Trial (Since January 2012)

 

Name

Dates of Arrest; Release

Details of Arrest / Release

1. Ms. Fatemeh Kheradmand

7-Jan-12;
12-Jan-12

Fatemeh Kheradman and Ehsan Houshmandzadeh (below) were arrested by plainclothes men at their Tehran homes on 7 January 2012. Confirming their arrest the next day, Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said they had “envisaged carrying out American plans to disrupt the parliamentary elections by using cyber-space and social networks.” Was released on bail in January.

2. Mr. Ehsan Houshmandz-adeh

7-Jan-12;
25-Apr-12

A journalist who reports on social issues, Houshmandzadeh is a National-Religious activist and an ethnic issues researcher. On 7 January 2012 authorities arrested him and transferred him to Evin Prison. He was held in solitary confinement but was transferred to a cell with two prisoners in Security Ward 209. Was released on bail in April.

3. Mr. Simien Nematollahi

7-Jan-12;
May-12

A contributor to the website Majzooban, Nematollahi was arrested on 7 January 2012 at her Tehran home by officials of the Intelligence Ministry on a charge of anti-government propaganda. Was released on bail in February.

4. Mr. Mehdi Khazali

9-Jan-12;
19-Mar-12

Mehdi Khazali was violently arrested for the fourth time on 9 January 2012 and was taken to Evin prison. During the arrest he suffered broken teeth and a broken arm. He once again launched a hunger strike from the start of his incarceration. On 1 February 2012, while his arm was broken and he had lost a lot of weight, Khazali was transferred to Ward 350 in Evin prison. Khazali who edits the Baran blog and has been arrested several times in the past. Khazali is the son of Ayatollah Abolghasem Khazali, an influential member of the Council of Guardians of the Iranian Constitution for the past three decades. Despite his frequent run-ins with the authorities, Mehdi Khazali is very critical about the government’s policies and human rights violations in his blog, which has been the victim of a cyber-attack and is no longer accessible. Was released on bail in March, after his health deteriorated following a hunger strike.

5. Mr. Ali Mousavi Khalkhali

9-Jan-12;
19-Mar-12

Ali Mousavi Khalkhali was picked up by security officials in January. He is reported to have been arrested on charges related to propaganda against the regime. Mousavi Khalkhali worked for the Irdiplomacy news website and is a nephew of Ayatollah Hakim, a senior Shiite cleric of Iranian origin in Iraq. Was released on bail in March.

7. Ms. Parastou Dokouhaki

15-Jan-12;
26-Feb-12

Journalist, blogger, and women’s issues researcher, Dokouhaki was arrested on 15 January 2012 .She was reportedly formally charged with “propaganda against the State.” In the past three years, she haf not been involved in political or journalistic activities and her activities were limited to working with the Shariati Foundation as an editor and translator. Dokouhaki, who is in her early thirties, writes about women’s and social issues. She has worked for the now-banned women’s issues monthly Zanaan and other reformist newspapers such as Yas-e No, Vagha-ye Etefaghiyeh, Norooz, Hambastegi, and Etemaad-e Melli. Was released in February.

8. Ms. Marzieh Rasouli

17-Jan-12;
26-Feb-12

According to reports, security agents arrested Rasouli after searching her home and seizing her personal property. Security agents presented Rasouli with an arrest order in which the charge against her was stated as “acting against national security.” Security agents told the family that they were transferring Ms. Rasouli to Evin prison. Ms. Rasouli is a journalist that covers music and publishing and has worked for reformist dailies such as Shargh and Etemad. Was released in February.

9. Ms. Tahmineh Monzavi

19-Feb-12;
19-Apr-12

Security forces arrested Tahmineh Monzavi, an award-winning freelance photographer, at her workplace in Tehran on February 19, and searched her home, reformist news websites said. The journalist has documented sensitive social issues in the country, like homelessness and drug addiction. Authorities did not disclose her whereabouts, legal status, or health condition. Was released in April.

10. Mr. Rahim Sarkar

8-Mar-12
10-Mar-12

Sarkar was arrested on 8 March after being summoned to the revolutionary court in the city of Qazvin. He had been charged on 27 February with “publishing false information with the aim of disturbing public opinion.” Was released on bail in March.

11. Ms. Reyhaneh Tabatabaie

2-Apr-12

A Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Reyhaneh Tabatabaie, a journalist for the reformist newspaper Shargh, to a one-year prison term on 2 April 2012 for alleged “propaganda against the state” and “weakening the pillars of the Islamic Republic,” according to a reformist news website. The court’s verdict said her offenses included reporting on the arrest of political prisoners after the 2009 presidential election. Tabatabaie was arrested in December 2010 and released on bail a month later. She has not been summoned to serve her sentence yet.

12. Mr. Ehssan Hoshmand

7-Jan-12; 23-Apr-12

Ehssan Hoshmand is a journalist and sociologist who specialized in the history of the Kurdish people. Was released on bail in April.

13. Reza Taleshaian Jolodarzadeh

Feb-12;

17 Apr-12

Reza Taleshaian Jolodarzadeh, the editor of the weekly Sobeh Azadi, was freed on 17 April 2012 after being held for two-and-a-half months. He suffers from a chronic illness resulting from an injury sustained during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance suspended his newspaper on 19 October 2011 after it ran a photo of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

14. Mr. Kouhyar Goudarzi

1-Aug-11;
16-Apr-12

The blogger and human rights activist Kouhyar Goudarzi, who maintained a blog called Kouhyar, was arrested on 1 August 2011 in Tehran. He spent several months in Evin prison without the authorities saying where he was being held. He was sentenced to five years in jail and internal exile, but was released on bail in April 2012.

15, 16, 17
Ms. Parastoo Dokoohaki; Mr. Sahamoldin Borghani; and Ms. Marzieh Rasouli

15/18 Jan-12; 26 Feb 12

Parastoo Dokoohaki, a blogger and women’s rights activist, Sahamoldin Borghani, a journalist who writes for the news website Irdiplomacy, and Marzieh Rasouli, who contributes to the arts and culture sections of several newspapers were arrested on 15 and 18 January 2012 and held in solitary confinement in Sections 209 and 2A of Tehran’s Evin prison, which are run by the Intelligence Ministry and the Revolutionary Guards. The journalists were freed after the payment of bond. The day before their release, the organized crime unit of the Revolutionary Guards, in a statement on the website Gerdab.ir, accused them of collaborating with the BBC, British intelligence, and the foreign-based opposition. The Revolutionary Guards announced that an operation code-named “eye of the fox” had led to the break-up of a network that gathered information and produced content for the BBC in Iran. The British broadcaster denied it employed staff in Iran. In the past, satellite stations such as the BBC and Voice of America have been jammed at regular intervals.

18. Mr. Hassan Fathi

12-Nov-11 3-Jan-12

Documentary filmmaker; released in January.

19. Ms. Fatemeh Khardmand

7-Jan-12;
1-Feb-12

Fatemeh Khardmand is a journalist for the monthly Gozaresh Sanat Chap. Was released in February.


[1] Human rights violations against the Bahá’ís in the Islamic Republic of Iran (June 2012), Bahá’í International Community report, submitted to the Special Rapporteur in June 2012.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Profiles of the seven Baha’i ‘leaders’,” Bahá’í World News Service, available at: http://news.bahai.org/human-rights/iran/yaran-special-report/profiles

[4] Human rights violations against the Bahá’ís in the Islamic Republic of Iran (June 2012), Bahá’í International Community report, submitted to the Special Rapporteur in June 2012.

[5] Iran: Executions by Stoning. Amnesty International, December 2010.

[6] Ibid.

[7] “Speak Out for Imprisoned Students in Iran,” International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, 26 April 2012 (available at: http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2012/04/imprisoned-students-campaign/).

[8] Shourd, Sarah. “They Were Arrested Too; Iran’s Harried Student Movement,” Huffington Post, 3 May 2012 (available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-shourd/they-were-arrested-too-irans-students_b_1475567.html)

[9] “Student Activist Jailed for Speaking Out,” Amnesty International, available at: http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/cases/iran-majid-tavakkoli?id=1181062

[10] Shourd, Sarah. “They Were Arrested Too; Iran’s Harried Student Movement,” Huffington Post, 3 May 2012 (available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-shourd/they-were-arrested-too-irans-students_b_1475567.html)

[11] “Urgent Action: Iranian Prison Returned to Cell,” Amnesty International, 16 March 2011 (available at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/031/2011/en/31fe312d-e501-4280-81d2a9a0f67e21f01/mde130312011en.html)

[12] All information presented in paras 22-26 is based on or taken from a report submitted by Reporters Without Borders to the Special Rapporteur in July 2012.

[13] Information from: Human rights violations against the Bahá’ís in the Islamic Republic of Iran (June 2012), Bahá’í International Community report (annex), submitted to the Special Rapporteur in June 2012.

[14] Iran: Executions by Stoning. Amnesty International, December 2010.

[15] Sources have reported more than 300 arbitrary arrests of Christians throughout the country since June 2010. The following tables, 3 and 3.a, contain only some cases, for which some details are known. The information is drawn from a report presented by a number of organizations to the Special Rapporteur in July 2012, as well as his own interviews.

[16] All Information in Tables 4 and 4.a is based on a report submitted by the Daftar Tahkim Vahdat student association to the Special Rapporteur in July 2012.

[17] Unless otherwise noted, all information in Tables 5 and 5a is drawn from a July 2012 report submitted to the Special Rapporteur by Reporters Without Borders.

[18] Information on the arrests of Mohammadi and Mohadess can be found at the website of the Beheshti Foundation (available at: http://www.beheshti.org/).

[19] According to the Masregh website (http:.//masreghnews.ir).