UN experts call on Iran to stop journalist arrests and release those detainedListen /
A group of United Nations independent human rights experts* has called for the Government of Iran to immediately halt the recent wave of mass arrests of journalists and to release those already detained.
Last week, security forces raided five newspaper offices and arrested at least 17 journalists, the majority of whom work for independent news outlets. Arrest warrants and summons have been issued for several others. Before these recent arrests, over 40 journalists were already imprisoned in Iran.
The UN human rights experts said "The recent wave of arrests of journalists solely for carrying out their professional activities is a flagrant violation of Iran's obligations under international human rights law", adding "It is disturbing that mass arrests and detention are being used in retaliation against the exercise of freedom of expression".
The human rights experts said journalists must be able to speak and write without fear of persecution, arrest and intimidation.
The experts warned that "Ahead of the June 2013 elections, the recent arrests may serve to reinforce self-censorship and severely constrict freedom of opinion and expression at a key moment in Iran's political development".
Donn Bobb, United Nations.