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New arrests solidify Iran's standing as world's leading jailer of journalists

As media arrests mount, Iran solidifies a dishonor

(CPJ/IFEX) - New York, July 22, 2009 - The Committee to Protect Journalists has confirmed the detentions of another four journalists in Iran. CPJ research shows the continuing arrests have solidified Iran's dishonorable standing as the world's leading jailer of journalists.

At least 41 journalists are now being held in Iranian prisons, 35 of whom were jailed in the aftermath of the disputed June 12 presidential election, CPJ research shows. Iran has supplanted China as the world's worst jailer of journalists; CPJ's most recent survey found 28 journalists imprisoned in China.

The Iranian government has responded harshly to those who have challenged the presidential elections results, cracking down on protests, obstructing local media, and expelling and vilifying foreign journalists. CPJ research shows that local newspapers are regularly censored.

Today, CPJ called on the government to immediately release all detained journalists and to halt the obstruction of free expression. Among those unjustly jailed is Majid Saeedi, a freelance photographer for Getty Images, who has worked in Iran for years. CPJ posted a slideshow today showing the breadth and diversity of Saeedi's work.

‎"Iranian ‎‎authorities continue to hold dozens of journalists behind bars, the vast majority of them without charge. The numbers speak for themselves - and the world is taking note. It's an embarrassment for Iran to be the world's worst jailer of journalists," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator ‎‎Mohamed Abdel Dayem. "The authorities must end their campaign against the media, and they should start by immediately releasing these unjustly detained journalists."

Here are capsule reports on some of the detained journalists.

Shadi Sadr, Women in Iran
DETAINED: July 17, 2009
Sadr, prominent lawyer, women rights activist, and journalist, was arrested by plainclothes agents on her way to Friday sermon on July 17, according to the U.S.-backed Radio Farda. According to the Los Angeles Times, Sadr works as an editor for the Web site of Women in Iran, a local women's rights group. Hossein Nilchan, Sadr's husband, said witnesses saw her forcibly pushed into a car and taken to an unknown location, Radio Farda reported.

Korosh Javan, freelance photographer
DETAINED: July 9, 2009
Javan, a freelance photographer, was arrested on July 9, according to multiple local news reports. Additional details were not immediately available.

Marjan Abdelhayn, Hamshahri
DETAINED: July 9, 2009
Photo editor Abdelhayn was arrested on July 7, according to the BBC Persian service. She works with the Tehran-based Hamshahri newspaper, according to local news reports.

Tohid Begi, photographer
DETAINED: July 9, 2009
The photographer for Mashrota News, affiliated with the defeated presidential candidate Mahdi Karroubi, was arrested by security agents near Inqilab Square in Tehran on July 9, according to news reports.

Kave Muzzafari, blogger
DETAINED: July 9, 2009
Muzzafari‎, blogger and women's rights activist, was arrested near his home in Tehran. He was a supporter of the campaign to collect "One Million Signatures" urging the reform of Iranian laws that discriminate against women. His mother-in-law, who was with him at the time of his arrest, told the Tehran-based Sign for Change Web site that plainclothes police officers arrested Muzzafari while they were on their way home from a hospital.

To read the capsule reports on other journalists detained following the presidential election on June 12, click here

... Payvand News - 07/24/09 ... --

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