Arya Jafari

A letter signed by 129 journalists calls for the release of Arya Jafari, the ISNA photojournalist who has been in custody in Isfahan since October 22 for coverage of protests against the repeated acid attacks against women in Isfahan.

The signatories call on the authorities  to “respect the right of the media to free and accurate coverage of events.”

They go on to add that eliminating news coverage of a “seriously concerning crime such as acid throwing” does not in any way help resolve this problem.

Three staff members of the Isfahan branch of ISNA were arrested following the agency’s coverage of the mass protests against incidents of acid throwing in the city. While the other two have been released, Arya Jafari still remains in custody.

The authorities accused ISNA of “creating public anxiety” with the way it covered the incident. Some reports indicate that the authorities have warned media outlets to steer clear of this event in their publications and refrain from focusing on news regarding the acid throwing incidents.

At least four women have been assaulted with acid in Isfahan in recent weeks, and the authorities have not yet been able to arrest the culprits.

They have denied the existence of any systematic attack on women and have so far insisted that this is a crime committed arbitrarily by an individual.

The attacks came as Parliament was considering regulations regarding the enforcement of hijab and the Islamic dress code in public by volunteers rallied through mosques.