There has been a new crackdown on women journalists since the start of the month, with two being arrested and held for nearly two weeks, five being summoned before the Tehran revolutionary court and one, who works for the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), being barred from leaving the country.
"The regime is taking a tougher line with women journalists," the press freedom organisation said. "These measures are illegal and contrary to national and international legal standards. We call on the Iranian authorities to put a stop to the political and legal harassment of the media."
Mahboubeh Hosseinzadeh, a journalist and blogger (http://kharzar.blogfa.com/) and Nahid Keshavarz, a journalist who writes for the we4change and zanestan websites, were arrested in Tehran on 2 April while covering a demonstration by supporters of the "million signatures" campaign for the repeal of laws that discriminate against women. After being held in Evin prison in north Tehran, they were finally freed on 14 April on payment of 20 million toumen (16,000 euros) in bail.
Five other journalists and women's rights activists - Asieh Amini, who writes a blog (http://varesh.blogfa.com/ ), Jila Bani Yaghoub, who writes for the daily Sarmayeh and the irwomen website, Jelveh Javaheri, who writes for we4change, Noushine Ahmadi Khorasani, and Sussan Tahmassebi, who edits we4change's English-language pages - were summoned to the Tehran revolutionary court between 14 and 16 April and were charged with "attacking national security," "publicity against the Islamic Republic," and "participating in an unauthorised demonstration."
They had been arrested on 4 March for taking part in a peaceful demonstration outside this court, and some of them were held for more than 10 days. After leaving prison, they all wrote articles for their respective media criticising their arrests and the Islamic Republic's abusive treatment of women's rights campaigners.
In an interview for the daily Etemad on 14 April, intelligence minister Mohseni Ejehi described these movements as "subversive" and said they were "in the pay of foreigners."
Parnaz Azima, a journalist with Radio Farda, the Farsi-language affiliate of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, meanwhile reported that the authorities are still refusing to return the passport that was confiscated from her on her arrival at Tehran airport on 25 January. Azima, who has Iranian and US nationality, said she had turned down a suggestion that she should work with the intelligence services. This is the second time her ability to travel has been restricted. The intelligence services prevented her from leaving the country for three weeks last year.
... Payvand News - 4/17/07 ... --