More Arrests Ahead of Elections


Fereshteh Ghazi

While the condition of recently detained journalists remains unknown, more journalists are arrested ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections. In the latest instance, Reza Jelodarzadeh, editor-in-chief of the recently banned “Sobh-e Azadi” magazine was arrested.

It is not evident which organ has arrested Mr. Jelodarzadeh, who is a wounded veteran of the Iran-Iraq war. Speaking to Rooz, the relatives of this detained journalists said they know nothing about his physical condition or whereabouts.

Three other journalists were arrested immediately before Mr. Jelodarzadeh: Saham Bourghani, Marzieh Rasouli, and Parastou Dokouhaki. Nothing is known about the condition of the former two journalists, but Parastou Dokouhaki told her family members in a short telephone call that she was being held in solitary confinement.

Parastou Dokouhaki is a journalist, blogger, and social activists who was arrested on January 16 at her house and has been in solitary confinement at the Evin Prison since.

Saham Bourghani is also a journalist and the son of former government official Ahmad Bourghani. His condition is unknown, although some sources noted that he is being held at the Revolutionary Guards’ detention unit inside the Evin Prison. Marzieh Rasouli is also a journalist covering social issues.

Amnesty International condemned the arrests in its latest statement, noting that an ongoing wave of arrests of journalists, bloggers and activists in recent days is intended to limit freedom of expression in the run up to the parliamentary elections.

Amnesty International specifically condemned the arrests of labor activist and blogger Esmail Jafari in Bushehr, social activist Ehsan Houshmand (Houshmandzadeh), sociologist and political activist Saeed Madani, blogger Mehdi Khazali, journalists Parastou Dokouhaki, Saham Bourghani, and Marzieh Rasouli, political activist and former student leader Saeed Razavi-Faghih, as well as Shahram Manouchehri and Mohammad Soleimaninia, and demanded their immediate and unconditional release.

According to a report, yesterday morning dozens of security forces rushed into ward 350 in the Evin Prison, attacking prisoners and searching their belongings, forcing all prisoners, including those suffering from medical conditions, to spend hours outside in sub-freezing temperature and under snow.

One prisoner, Mehdi Khazali, withstood the harsh treatment with his arm in a cast and more than two weeks into his hunger strike.

People close to Mr. Khazali say that he has been in hunger strike for the past 24 days. He has been beaten and torture in prison and sustained damages to his neck and arm.

Source: Roozonline
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