Fourteen jailed journalists are warning the Iranian public of grave societal danger, saying the house arrest of the opposition leaders and their wives is an frightful indication of what’s to come.
In a statement published yesterday, the journalists called attention to “the oppressive force hanging heavily over Iranian society and pushing it toward all-out tyranny.” They were referring to the detention of opposition leaders MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and their wives Zahra Rahnavard and Fatemeh Karroubi, and the forced closure of prominent Green Movement newspapers Etemad-e Melli (National Trust) and Kaleme Sabz (Green Word).
The statement, published yesterday to coincide with Reporter’s Day in Iran, is signed by journalists jailed in Evin and Rejaishahr Prisons: Alireza Beheshti Shirazi, Ali Malihi, Siamak Ghaderi, Alirez Rejai, Nahmad Ahmadi Amouyi, Massoud Bastani, Massoud Lavasani, Nader Karimi Joni, Saeed Matinpour, Mohammad Sedigh Kaboodvand, Mohammd Davari, Saam Mahmouudi Sarabi, Keyvan Samimi and Issa Saharkhiz.
MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi were the directors of Kaleme Sabz and Etemad-e Melli, and the jailed journalists expressed grave concern for their health and demanded their immediate release.
The statement emphasizes that, by all measures, Mousavi and Karroubi are facing far harsher conditions than what’s found in regular prisons.
Mousavi and Karroubi and their wives were put under house arrest and completely cut off from the outside world in February, after they rallied people to demonstrate in support of the recent Arab uprisings in the region. Since then, they have been prohibited from any outside communication, except for very limited visits from their children.
The statement by the jailed journalists continues: “Currently, 40 journalists and media activists are behind bars in Iran, and many of then have been given illegal sentences, barring them from doing any journalism for life or for decades. Others have had to flee the country because it’s so dangerous to do their jobs in Iran. In the past two years, Islamic Republic courts have handed out several decades of imprisonment for Iranian journalists and media activists.”
The announcement also condemns the forced shutdown of the Iranian Journalists Association and the arrest of several of its organizers.