Hassan Fathi

Hassan Fathi, the jailed Iranian journalist, was released on bail yesterday in Tehran, BBC reports.

Fathi was arrested after being interviewed by the BBC about the controversial explosion in one of the Revolutionary Guards’ ammunition’s depots near Tehran.

The Fars News Agency reports that Fathi was charged with “disturbing public perceptions and collaboration with the BBC.”

The BBC, however, announced once more that it has no employees or collaborators in Iran, and that Fathi had spoken with BBC as an independent analyst. The British service maintained that interviewing reporters, members of academia and other Iranian figures as independent analysts of current news is a common practice in its journalistic methods.

Fathi’s arrest was denounced by 100 journalists inside and outside of Iran, who issued a statement challenging the purpose of the arrest. The statement said: “It is not clear who has detained [Hassan Fathi] and why. He is being held prisoner so others would learn a lesson and refrain from analysis and criticism or crossing red lines.”

Journalists have not fared well in the crackdown on opposition voices in the past two years, and with the approach of the parliamentary elections in March, a new wave of arrests has swept the country. In the past two weeks, five more journalists have been put behind bars by the authorities.