Reporters Without Borders has condemned the continued arrest of journalists in the Islamic Republic and called for an end to the harassment of the families of detained journalists by Iranian authorities.
The press rights organization issued a statement on November 14, speaking out against the arrest of Hassan Fathi, the foreign editor of the Iranian daily Ettelaat, plus Kuwaiti TV reporter Adel Al-Yahaya and cameraman Raed Al-Majed, who were all arrested in Iran in the past week.
The two Kuwaiti journalists were arrested on November 11 in Abadan, charged with “spying and entering the country illegally.” Fathi was arrested on November 12 after being interviewed by Persian BBC about the recent explosion at an ammunition depot in Tehran, which left 17 people dead and 18 wounded.
The Fars News Agency later cited “an informed source” to report that Fathi is “an official reporter” for BBC.
Persian BBC has once again announced that it has no hired reporters in Iran, and its interviewees in Iran are approached as “independent analysts.”
Earlier, the head of Iran’s Security forces, Brigadier General Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam, announced that any collaboration with Persian BBC will be deemed to be “collaboration with the enemy’s intelligence services.”
In September, Iranian authorities arrested six filmmakers in Tehran on the charge of “collaboration with BBC.”
Reporters Without Borders also reports that the Islamic Republic continues to harass the families of jailed journalists. It adds: “Relatives of detainees are often victims of physical and verbal attacks and insults by court officials and prison officers. These premeditated acts are an extension of the pressure that is put on the prisoners themselves.”
The pressure on journalists has escalated in Iran following the disputed presidential elections of 2009 and the widespread protests over alleged vote fraud.
Reporters Without Birders condemns the arrest of journalists and the “systematic harassment” of their families and goes on to “call for the immediate release of all imprisoned journalists and netizens and an end to the harassment of the families of those detained.”