Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Reporters Without Borders

Press freedom violations recounted in real time (from 28 February to 05 April 2012)

Reporters Without Borders
April 5, 2012

05.04.2012- More journalists and netizens arrested, sentenced to jail terms

Reporters Without Borders is appalled to learn that more journalists and netizens have been arrested or have been given long jail sentences in the past few days.

Mehran Faraji, a journalist with the newspaper Shargh and the now-closed newspaper Etemad Melli, was arrested on 3 April in order to serve a six-month jail sentence on a charge go anti-government propaganda.

Arrested on 12 December 2010 and then freed on bail on 4 February 2011, Faraji was originally sentenced by a Tehran revolutionary court in October 2011 to a year in prison, but an appeal court later reduced it to six months in prison plus six months suspended. He suffers from severe osteoarthritis and a long spell in jail is likely to exacerbate his condition.

Rihaneh Tabatabai, another Shargh journalist, was notified on 2 April that a Tehran revolutionary court has sentenced her to a year in prison. Arrested at her home by intelligence ministry officials on 12 December 2010, she was freed on 16 January 2011 on bail of 10 million tomans (7,500 euros).

The netizen Mansoureh Behkish has also just learned that a Tehran revolutionary court has sentenced her to four and half years in prison on charges of anti-government propaganda and creating the “Mothers in Mourning” movement in order to “meet and conspire against national security.”

Aged 54, Behkish, has been campaigning for years about the arbitrary execution of political prisoners during the 1980s and has repeatedly been harassed and jailed. She and 33 other members of “Mothers in Mourning” were arrested while demonstrating in Tehran’s Laleh Park on 9 January 2010. Banned from leaving the country when freed on 17 March 2011, she was arrested again in Tehran on 12 June 2011 and spent a month in Section 209 of Evin prison.

Bekhish also belongs to the “Mothers of Khavaran,” a movement named after the south Tehran cemetery used as mass grave for political prisoners who were executed en masse in 1988. Its members are harassed by the authorities for demanding justice and for holding ceremonies commemorating the deaths of their loved-ones.

Six of Bekhish’s close relatives (four brothers, a sister and a brother-in-law) were executed during the 1980s. She posts articles on various websites about these groups, their ceremonies and the harassment to which they are subjected.

Under Iran’s Islamic criminal code, Tabatabai and Behkish have 21 days to appeal against their sentences.


Reporters Without Borders has learned that two journalists, Ali Mousavi Khalkhali and Mehdi Khazali, and a jailed blogger’s mother, Parvin Mokhtare, were released on 19 March.

Khalkhali, who worked for the Irdiplomacy news website, was held in Tehran’s Evin prison after being arrested by intelligence ministry officials at his home on 24 February. He is a nephew of Ayatollah Hakim, a senior Shiite cleric of Iranian origin in Iraq.

The editor of the blog Baran, Khazali was arrested for the third time in less than two years on 9 January and was sentenced on 5 February to four years in jail followed by 10 years of internal exile in the southern city of Borazjan on a charge of insulting government officials. His family said his health deteriorated while detained.

Mokhtare, the mother of the jailed blogger Kouhyar Goudarzi, was herself sentenced to 23 months in prison by a revolutionary court in the southeastern city of Kerman.


23.03.2012 -Two freed on bail

Reporters Without Borders has learned of the release on bail on 10 March of Rahim Sarkar, editor of the weekly Hadiss Qazvin, after payment of a bond of 50 million tomans (about 45,000 euros).

He was arrested on 8 March after being summoned to the revolutionary court in the city of Qazvin. He had been charged on 27 February with “publishing false information with the aim of disturbing public opinion”.

According to the prosecution, “The newspaper published in its latest edition, images of prisons, poverty, executions, etc. in order to paint a bleak picture of the country. The accompanying article forecast a poor turnout at the parliamentary election on 12 March.”

The press freedom organization has also been informed of the release on bail on 26 December last year of Ali Dini Torkamani, a writer and economist who contributes to the Tehran-based online magazine Alborznet. He was arrested on 2 August at his home in the capital.


28 February 2012 - Journalists arrested in January round-up released, photographer detained

Reporters Without Borders has learned of the release on bail two days ago of Parastoo Dokoohaki, a blogger and women’s rights activist, and yesterday of Sahamoldin Borghani, a journalist who writes for the news website Irdiplomacy and Marzieh Rasouli, who contributes to the arts and culture sections of several newspapers.

They were arrested on 15 and 18 January and held in solitary confinement in Sections 209 and 2A of Tehran’s Evin prison which are run by the intelligence ministry and the Revolutionary Guards.

The journalists were freed after the payment of a bond of 300 million tomans each by Dokoohaki and Rasouli, and of 200 million tomans by Borghani.

The day before their release, the organized crime unit of the Revolutionary Guards in a statement on the website Gerdab.ir, accused them of collaborating with the BBC, British intelligence and the foreign-based opposition.

The Revolutionary Guards announced that an opération code-named “eye of the fox” had led to the break-up of a network that gathered information and produced content for the BBC in Iran. The British broadcaster denied it employed staff in Iran. In the past, satellite stations such as theBBC and Voice of America, have been jammed at regular intervals.

The press freedom organization has also been informed of the arrest of photographer Tahmineh Monzavi by officials of the intelligence ministry at her workplace on 19 February. Her family does not know the reasons for her arrest or where she is being held.