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Iran's Association for Freedom of Press discuss journalists' security

Iran's Association for Freedom of the Press (IAFP) discussed the issues of the security of the Iranian journalists and the death of the late photojounalist Zahra Kazemi in Tehran on Wednesday, IRNA reported.

The head of IAFP, Hojjatoleslam Mohsen Kadivar, during its Wednesday session asked the judiciary to observe full impartiality, and resolute determination in surveying the case of Ms. Kazemi's death.

"I hope thanks to the good and strong will displayed by President Seyed Mohammad Khatami, due considerations regarding this file will not be delayed for such a long time, that the emerging of another file would once again overshadow it before the public opinion."

Kadivar added, "During a meeting between IAFP members and the esteemed families of the imprisoned journalists, they told us that they have been threatened."

He added, "One of the famous imprisoned journalists' wife, who has received no news from her husband for 40 days, is among those that have been threatened."

The IAFP head announced, "21 Iranian journalists, accused of various crimes, are now imprisoned, and some international communities have due to the same reason announced that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the second largest prison of the journalists in the world."

Reminding the audience that according to the civil laws of Iran, a prisoner's family must be informed of the place where he is held, he announced, "The family members of Sa'id Razavi-Faqih, still do not know where he is."

Razavi-Faqih is a cleric, affiliated to the largest Iranian student body, the Office to Foster Unity (OFU).

Kadivar said, "We ask for the system's transparency, and its abiding by the country's laws. After the tragic death of Ms. Kazemi, the families of all arrested journalists are extremely worried for the security of their beloved ones."

He asked the judiciary chief (Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Shahroudi), "Can you assure us that what happened to Kazemi will not happen to the rest of the arrested journalists?"

The IAFP's spokesman, Masha'Allah Shamsol-Va'ezin, too, said during the session that the IAFP has appointed a fact finding commission to probe in to Zahra Kazemi's file.

He added, "The IAFP believes that the report prepared by the committee appointed by the president was merely of preliminary value, and that the tragic death of that journalist needs to be further elucidated by this fact finding commission."

He said, "This committee is comprised of representatives from Iran's Press Syndicate (IPS), the Association of Muslim Journalists, the Iranian Female Journalists Association, the parliaments' Article 90 Commission, and the IAFP."

Shamsol-Va'ezin said, the report that will be prepared by this committee will be presented to the public directly and immediately.

he added, "The IAFP is determined to write a letter addressed to the heads of the county's three powers, reminding them that the security of the country's journalists is seriously at stake under the prevailing conditions, and that the legal procedure of interrogating them is constantly violated."

The former editor-in-chief of four banned dailies added, "This committee will be organized regardless of all events, and the judiciary's confirmation would mean its will to cooperate in dealing with the case seriously."

The IAFP spokesman meanwhile announced that the families of three of the imprisoned journalists have written separate letters to us, telling us about the quite insecure atmosphere with which the wives and children of the imprisoned journalists are faced with.

He added, "Such threats, including threatening to imprison them as well, are quite worrying."

... Payvand News - 7/24/03 ... --

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