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Any Confessions from Arrested Iranian Journalists are Illegal


Nemat Ahmadi, the lawyer representing Omid Memarian, Masoud Ghoreyshi, and Reza Vatanikhah, the Iranian journalists arrested in relation to Internet sites, said in a statement to the Iranian Students News Agency on October 20th, that "any confessions obtained from my clients, in an unknown location, without the presence of legal council, and by unknown, unauthorized and unprofessional persons, whose relation to and position within the Judiciary remains unclear, should be viewed as illegal and in violation of the 35th amendment of the Iranian Constitution, which guarantees the right to legal council for all those charged with a crime." Ahmadi went on to criticize the fact that he had been denied access to his clients. "Our first objection in court will be to the manner in which my clients were arrested and detained." Ahmadi further explained that the charges for the arrest of his clients still remained unclear, that the location of his clients had not been divulged and that he had also been denied the opportunity to meet with the judge in charge of these cases. He has expressed his concerns and criticism of the process in an open letter to the head of the Judiciary.

Seven journalists so far have been arrested in the latest wave of crackdowns again freedom of the press in Iran, this time, targeting internet journalists. These arrests are in relation to an article written by Ali Shariatmadari in the hard-line Conservative paper Kayhan, where unproven charges are regularly made against journalists and also political figures, followed by arrests. Forced confessions obtained during the interrogation process have been used in the past to build cases against those arrested.

Protest by Iranian Journalists
ILNA, October 21

photo: ISNA

Iranian journalists and defenders of the freedom of press gathered at the offices of the Federation of Iranian Journalists to protest the latest crackdowns against the press. This gathering which drew a large number of journalists, writers and supporters, was organized jointly by the Federation of Iranian Journalists, the Organization to Defend the Freedom of the Press, and the Organization for Young Journalists. Mr. Shamsolvaezine the spokesperson for the Federation of Iranian Journalists opened the protest meeting by criticizing the arrest of seven internet journalists. Mohammad Seyf-Zadeh, the lawyer representing Rouzbeh MirEbrahimi , one of the arrested journalists, also had the chance to discuss the case of his client. According to Mr. SeyfZadeh, Mr. MirEbrahimi in a handwritten note has refused the services of legal council. Mr. Seyf-Zade further explained, "despite the fact that this letter is written in Mr. MirEbrahimi's handwriting, his parents and I both agree that it was written under pressure and duress." Seyfzadeh went on to say that "these outdated methods [employed by the Judiciary] no longer have impact and we all hope that all the internet journalists who have been arrested illegally will be freed soon."

photo: ISNA

It is worth mentioning that besides journalists and writers, the families of those arrested as well as many reformist political figures were present at this protest, including Mostafa Tajzadeh, Mohsen Kadivar, Emadedin Baghi, Ahmad Bourghani, Mohamad Ali Dadkhah, Nemat Ahmadi, etc.

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