Iran arrests two pro-reform journalists
The Iranian authorities have arrested two pro-reform journalists, said the Iranian news agency ILNA, one of whom has been critical recently of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The agency, which is close to the country's reformists, did not say when Issa Saharkhiz and Ehsan Mazandarani were detained or on what charges.
Saharkhiz was released in 2013 after serving three years in prison for insulting Khamenei and publishing anti-regime propaganda.
|Saharkhiz was released in 2013 after serving three years in prison for insulting Khamenei.|
He was head of media at the culture ministry under reformist president Mohammad Khatami, who was in office from 1997 to 2005.
In recent months, he had criticised Khamenei and other senior figures in interviews with foreign media.
Mazandarani, who runs the reformist daily Farhikhtegan, was previously arrested in 2009 for acting against national security and contact with foreigners, at a time of protests against the re-election of hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Human Rights Watch also called yesterday for the Iranian authorities to immediately release the detained writer and blogger Mohammad Reza Pourshajari, who is being unlawfully held despite his prison sentence expiring.
Pourshajari was convicted of "propaganda against the state" on 11 March 2015 by Branch 1 of the Iranian Revolutionary Court in the city of Karaj in northern Iran.
He was sentence to one and a half years in prison and two years of internal exile in the city of Tabas.
The conviction was based on a number of articles he published on his blog criticising the Iranian authorities.
The writer was told he would be released from prison on 23 September 2015, however he continues to be detained at the central prison in Karaj.
It is outrageous that the Iranian authorities imprisoned Pourshajari in the first place, simply for peacefully exercising his right to free expression," said Eric Goldstein, HRW's deputy Middle East director.
"Keeping him locked up and then planning to keep him in internal exile only extends this unjust persecution," Goldstein added.