Monday, June 22, 2009

BBC Correspondent Deported, Others in Prison

(RSF/IFEX) - Three more journalists have been arrested since early on 20 June 2009, bringing the number of journalists and cyberdissidents detained in Iran to 33. This figure includes those who were already in jail before the 12 June presidential election. Iran is now the world's biggest prison for the media.

"The authorities will stop at nothing to prevent the Iranian and foreign media from exposing the Mullah-led regime's problems," Reporters Without Borders said. "The international community must press for the release of all the imprisoned journalists, including those arrested before the presidential election. The expulsion of foreign news media is yet another reason for not recognising the election result."

Husband-and-wife journalists Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee and Jila Baniyaghoob were arrested at midnight on 20 June by intelligence ministry officials inplain clothes who searched their home and then took them away to an as yet unknown location, probably the security wing of Tehran's Evin prison.

A winner of the Courage in Journalism prize awarded by the International Women's Media Foundation, Baniyaghoob edits a news website that focuses on women's rights, Canon Zeman Irani ( ). Her husband, Amoee, writes for various pro-reform publications.

Reporters Without Borders has also been able to confirm that Ali Mazroui, the head of the Association of Iranian Journalists, was arrested on the morning of 20 June.

The BBC confirmed on the afternoon of 21 June that its Tehran correspondent, Jon Leyne, has been ordered to leave the country within 24 hours. Officials accused him of "supporting rioters".
The authorities had previously accused Britain of "conspiring" against Iran.

For more information:
Reporters Without Borders
47 rue Vivienne
75002 Paris France
rsf (@)
Phone: +33 1 44 83 84 84
Fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51

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