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RSF

Leaked Files Shed Light on Journalists’ Brutal Crackdown on Iran

TEHRAN – The Iranian authorities have arrested jailed or executed at least 860 journalists in the three decades, said Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on February 7, citing leaked documents from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Reuters reported Friday.
At a press conference in Paris, in the presence of Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, RSF, said whistle-blowers had sent 1.7 million records detailing the judicial proceedings against Iranian citizens – minorities, members of the opposition, journalists and people accused of non-political crimes.
RSF general secretary Christophe Deloire said his media rights group had spent months checking the recordings with his own documents and those of other rights groups.
He added that the evidence shows that hundreds of journalists have been targeted by the Iranian clerical authorities.
“The case is a record of all the arrests, imprisonments and executions perpetrated by the Iranian authorities in the Tehran region for three decades,” RSF said.
On February 7, RSF released a report outlining its findings amid celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution that ended the monarchy and led to the creation of an Islamic republic.
RSF says that 860 journalists and citizen-journalists were arrested, imprisoned and sometimes executed by the Iranian regime between 1979 and 2009.
Among those arrested were 218 women, according to the report.
RSF further said that, journalists were arrested on “spurious accusations”, such as “collaboration with an enemy alien state”, “activity against domestic security”, “anti-government propaganda” and “espionage”.
Charges of “insulting the sacred and Islam” and “insulting the supreme leader” were also used to imprison journalists.
The watchdog said that most journalists have been denied basic rights, including access to a lawyer and contact with their families. They have also been subjected to ill-treatment and torture, RSF said.
Deloire said his organization would refer the case to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the hope that further steps could be taken to hold Iran accountable.
“The very existence of this file and its millions of entries not only shows the extent of the Iranian regime’s begging (…), but also the implacable machinations it has used for 40 years to persecute men and women for their opinions or reports,” he said.
In its report, RSF said it had identified at least four journalists, including Simon Farzami, a Swedish-Iranian Jew, head of the office of the French news agency AFP when he was arrested in 1980.
RSF reported that the records also indicated that 61,900 political prisoners had been detained since the 1980s. At least 520 of them were between the ages of 15 and 18 at the time of their arrest, the human rights group said.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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