Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi

Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi commented on the cases of a number of recent arrests and detained journalists in Iran.

Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) reports that Dowlatabadi maintained today that the journalists detained in connection with Shargh newspaper have been arrested on security charges adding that they “were involved in activities that are not connected with journalism.”

Three weeks ago, Iranian security forces raided the offices of Shargh newspaper and arrested its editor-in-chief, Ahmad Gholami, its political news editor, Keyvan Mehregan, its international news editor, Farzaneh Roustayi and its executive director, Ali Khodabakhsh. Later two other Shargh reporters were also arrested.

Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi accused Shargh journalists of “issuing anti-regime announcement and financial preparations.” He refused to explain the charge of “financial preparations.”

In his statements, Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi also referred to another detained journalist, Nazanin Khosravani, who was arrested in November. He maintained that Khosravani is charged with “activities against national security and propaganda against the regime” and her file will soon be forwarded to the court.

Tehran Prosecutor went on to touch on the case of Fariborz Rais-Daana, the prominent Iranian economist who was arrested after giving out a critical interview to Persian BBC on the topic of overhauling government subsidies in Iran. Dowlatabadi maintained that the file against Rais-Daana had become active since a while ago; however, his interview with a foreign network “sped up” his arrest.

Dowlatabadi also said that the Revolutionary court has issued a death penalty for a prisoner charged with espionage but refused to identify this individual.

In conclusion, Tehran prosecutor refuted the statements of Mehdi Saharkhiz, son of the prominent jailed journalist, Issa Saharkhiz.

Mehdi Saharkhiz published a letter last week addressed to Tehran Prosecutor. In it, he stated that the treatment of his father in Iran’s prison is akin to “deliberate murder” adding that his father is currently in critical health condition.

Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi denied the statements saying that Saharkhiz is serving out his sentence and does not suffer from any ailments.

Issa Saharkhiz, who was arrested in the post-election crackdown of 2009 on protesters, was sentenced to three years in prison for the charge of “insulting the Supreme Leader and propaganda against the regime.” He is also barred from journalism for five years.