The National Press Club has spoken out against the arrest of Iranian blogger Kouhyar Goudarzi and his mother, calling it a "slap in the face of the international community."
Mark Hamrick, the NPC president, issued a statement on August 10 calling for the release of Goudarzi and his mother, Parvin Mokhtare, who were arrested by Iranian authorities about 10 days earlier.
Meanwhile, an unidentified friend of the Goudarzi family has told the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that friends and colleagues are gravely concerned about his well-being. They believe Goudarzi’s mother has been arrested in order to "prevent the release of any information about Kouhyar’s situation and the pressures he is being subjected to."
The source adds that the judiciary has told Goudarzi’s relatives and friends to report his "kidnapping” to local police.
Goudarzi disappeared on July 31, and some news sources have reported that he was arrested. The following day, his mother, Kerman resident Parvin Mokhtare, was arrested and transferred to the central Kerman Prison.
Goudarzi was first arrested back in December 2009 during the mass protests against the disputed election victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when thousands of people — especially journalists and media activists — were arrested to quell the protests.
Last June, Goudarzi was sentenced to one year in prison for "propaganda activities against the regime, effective collaboration with the Human Rights Reporters Committee, and the collection and publication of purposeful news against the regime and relaying them to terrorist organizations based outside of Iran, as well as giving interviews to foreign media and publishing articles on websites."
After serving out his one-year sentence, Goudarzi was released from Rejaishahr Prison in December 2010.
In November 2010, Goudarzi was awarded the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award. The National Press Club honoured Goudarzi in a ceremony and described his plight as representative of the abuses that journalists endure in Iran and beyond.
At the ceremony, a statement from Mokhtare was read, saying: "It is pleasing to know that the ‘charges’ levied against our children in their own country, for which they have been imprisoned, charges such as human rights work, fighting for the right to higher education, free speech, free press, child labor rights, the campaign against the death penalty, civil and citizenship rights, etc., are not ‘charges’ in other countries but are encouraged and applauded.”