Thursday, June 15, 2006

Four Journalists Beaten and Arested in Teheran

Reporters Without Borders:
Reporters Without Borders protested at the arrest and beating of at least four journalists by security forces on 12 June 2006, while covering a demonstration in Teheran of more than 5,000 women. Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee and two women journalists, Jila Baniyaghoob, Taraneh Baniyaghoob, of the daily Sarmayeh, have been imprisoned at an unknown location.

We condemn the level of repression against journalists,” the press freedom organisation said. Twelve journalists have been arrested in less than a month and are still being held in custody.” READ MORE

Jila Baniyaghoob, Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee, Taraneh Baniyaghoob and Lila Farahadpour were all picked up at the scene of the demonstration. Farahadpour was released a few hours later while the three others were forcibly taken away.

They were covering a demonstration organised by a women’s movement against ‘sexual apartheid’ and to press for an overhaul of laws on women. Demonstrators carried banners proclaiming, “We are women, human beings and citizens, but we have no rights! Women’s rights are human rights”.

Police and security forces had already harassed several women journalists last week accusing them of “being the organisers of the demonstration”. They were sent letters and telephone calls and were repeatedly summoned by police. Fariba Davoudi Mohajar, journalist and president of the Association of Young Journalists, was questioned throughout the day of 12 June.

Elsewhere a crackdown is continuing in the north of the country. Abolfazel Vesali, editor of the daily Nedai Azarabadeg, was arrested and placed in custody on 7 June. A week earlier the newspaper was suspended by the courts in Azerbaijan province. It has come in for several penalties imposed by the courts since 2000.

President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are both on Reporters Without Borders’ list of 38 predators of press freedom drawn up by the organisation each year.
This report confirms our earlier report of the size of the demonstration. Most of the Western media reported numbers of around 200 demonstrators.