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12/20/11

Iranian journalists denounce arrest of their colleague Hassan Fathi

Source: Radio Zamaneh

One hundred Iranian journalists have issued a statement challenging the arrest of their colleague Hassan Fathi by Iranian authorities.

In a statement issued today, the signatories indicate that Fathi has been detained without any official statement about the charges against him. They maintain his arrest was merely "to teach others a lesson" about avoiding contact with the media.

Fathi was arrested in Tehran on November 12 after he was interviewed by Persian BBC about the controversial explosion at a Revolutionary Guards weapons depot that rocked the western part of the capital.

The signatories urge Parliament to demand justice for Fathi, adding that "it is not fitting for Iranians that their country be repeatedly labelled as the greatest prison for journalists."

In recent years, the journalists' advocacy group Reporters Without Borders has repeatedly referred to Iran as the "greatest jail for journalists" in the Middle East.

The Iranian judiciary has not yet made any announcement regarding Fathi's arrest, but the Fars News Agency, the media outlet close to the Revolutionary Guards, has claimed that Fathi is a "collaborator with Persian BBC in Tehran" and accuses him of "disturbing public minds and publishing falsehoods."

Persian BBC has announced that it has no collaborators or employees in Iran and that it had interviewed Fathi as an independent analyst, just as it has interviewed numerous other Iranian journalists, academics and personalities.

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