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Appeal for release of 11 imprisoned journalists to mark UN envoy's visit to Iran

Reporters Without Borders called today on the Iranian authorities to unconditionally free 11 jailed journalists during an official visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Ambeyi Ligabo.

It called on them to allow the top UN envoy, who arrives in Teheran on 4 November, to meet the journalists, especially those being held in solitary confinement. There has been no news of one of them, Iraj Jamshidi, for over four months. The press freedom organisation also demanded that the ban on a number of newspapers be lifted to mark Ligabo's visit.

The 11 journalists imprisoned in Iran are :

  • Akbar Ganji, of Sobh-e-Emooz (since 2 April 2000).
  • Hassan Yussefi Eshkevari, of Iran-e-Farda (since 5 August 2000).
  • Hossein Ghazian, of Norooz (since 31 October 2002).
  • Abbas Abdi, of Salam (since 4 November 2002).
  • Alireza Jabari, of Adineh (since 17 March 2003).
  • Siamak Pourzand, who works for several independent papers (since 30 March 2003).
  • Taghi Rahmani, of Omid-e-Zangan (since14 June 2003).
  • Reza Alijani, editor of Iran-e-Farda and winner of the Reporters Without Borders - Fondation de France Prize (since 14 June 2003).
  • Hoda Saber, editor of Iran-e-Farda (since 14 June 2003).
  • Iraj Jamshidi, editor of the business daily Asia (since 6 July 2003).
  • Alireza Ahmadi, of Asia (since 29 July 2003).

More than 100 newspapers have been shut down in Iran since 2000, press offences still carry prison terms and trials are often held in secret. Five detained journalists have been waiting to be tried for several months. Police and courts regularly harass those who are freed. Emadoldin Baghi, of Neshat, who was released after three years in prison, is now being accused of writing articles calling for press freedom saying that Iran is the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East.

... Payvand News - 11/4/03 ... --

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