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The Federation of Iranian Journalists Releases Statement Protesting Recent Arrests

The Federation of Iranian Journalists has released a statement protesting the continued arrests of journalists and has asked all supporters of free press, especially journalists, to join the Federation in this protest. The full statement by the Federation follows:

Unfortunately and despite repeated and strong objections by journalists, trade associations, and organizations in support of a free press in Iran, every so often we witness a severe crackdown on journalists and on the press. These crackdowns have severely limited the freedom of expression in Iran and negatively impacted journalists.

The last such crackdown included the arrest of Mr. Omid Memarian, a journalist and a member of the Federation of Iranian Journalists. This arrest, which took place on October 10, 2004, occurred in the midst of efforts by the Federation to obtain information about the arrests of several other journalists taken into custody over a month ago. Despite attempts by the Federation and the family members of the arrested journalists, Shahram Rafiizadeh, Hanif Mazroui, Rouzbeh MirEbrahimi, and Omid Memarian no information about their whereabouts has been made available. Additionally, their charges and the reason for their arrest has yet to be disclosed to legal council, the Federation and to their family members.

All of these journalists have been denied their basic rights as citizens, including the right to legal representation and the right to visitors, including family members and lawyers. What has taken place with respect to these individuals is a gross violation of their rights by the Judiciary System, including violation of rights accorded to them within the Iranian constitution, and within the Human Rights Declaration.

The Federation of Iranian Journalists has on numerous occasions objected to severe crackdowns on the Press and on Journalists carried out by the Judiciary. In numerous letters and statements addressed to the Judiciary and its Head, the Federation has expressed concern that these crackdowns have worked to limit and threaten the existence of the profession of Journalism within Iran and has darkened the atmosphere of journalism in our country. Since the Federation does not view these arrests in line with interests of the Islamic Republic, national interests, and the interests of citizens, we are once again voicing our deep concern over these recent arrests and are requesting the immediate and unconditional release of all imprisoned journalists and a return to normal conditions.

The Federation, in an effort to carry out its duty with respect to the profession of journalism, and in strong protest to the latest arrests of journalists and the increasing threats to the freedom of the press in Iran, along with the Organization to Defend the Freedom of the Press, will hold a protest meeting on Thursday October 21, 2004 from 4-6:00pm in the community hall of the office of the Federation in Tehran. We urge all the defenders of a free press and especially our members and journalists, to join us in protesting the current crackdown.

... Payvand News - 10/20/04 ... --

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