Monday 29 June 2009

Amnesty International makes all journalists held in Iran 'prisoners of conscience'

Amnesty International has called on the Iranian authorities to release dozens of journalists arrested since 12 June - who it says are at risk of torture in detention - and has adopted all of them as prisoners of conscience.
Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme, said: "It is shocking that journalists - whose job it is to provide information to others - are being detained, on top of all the other draconian measures the authorities have taken to restrict the free flow of information about what is really happening in Iran. Rather than trying to investigate alleged abuses, the only message the authorities are sending is that they are seeking to hide the truth, both from their own citizens and the rest of the world."
AI says dozens of journalists have been detained in the past fortnight with their whereabouts restrictions on freedom of expression. Access to the Internet has been blocked or significantly interrupted. Iranian publications have been banned from publishing information about the unrest. Foreign news journalists have mostly unknown.
Since the announcement on 13 June that President Ahmadinejad had won the election, the Iranian authorities have imposed severe been banned from the streets, and some foreign reporters have been expelled from the country.
Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said: "If nothing else, the authorities must immediately disclose the whereabouts of these journalists, ensure that they are not tortured or otherwise ill-treated and allow their families and lawyers access to them."

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