30 January 2013
Your Excellency Dr. Ahmed Shaheed,
The Honourable United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran
Since 28 January, the offices and homes of Iranian journalists have been raided by the security forces. Several journalists have been arrested. Although some of them, including Motahereh Shafi, have been released, 14 are behind bars at present: Emily Amrai, Nasrin Takhayori, Saba Azar Peyk, Nargess Judaki, Ali Dehghan, Sasan Aghai, Akbar Montajebi, Javad Daliri, Milad Fadai Asl, Keyvan Mehregan, Hossein Yaghchi, Soleiman Mohammadi, Pejman Moosavi, Poriya Alami.
The important point of these arrests is that according to judicial authorities, the detainees are charged with acting against national security and "These arrests will continue" (state news agency ISNA on 29 January 2013). In other words, the security forces are trying to intimidate the journalist and force them into silence by launching these mass arrests and false accusations.
These arrests are in violation of the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to the information received from the family of the detained journalists, despite ISNA’s report, they have not been formally charged and no warrants of arrest have been issued. Detainees have been denied access to legal representation. Due to lack of due process, all arrests are considered to be arbitrary.
I would therefore like to draw your attention to this issue and state that the continuation of this situation not only limits dissemination of information but it is another step to create fear among citizens to prevent them from any possible lawful protests.
With best regards,
Human Rights Advocate and 2003 Nobel peace prize Laureate
The Office of Madam Navanethem Pillay, honourable United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; The Office of the United Nations Secretary- General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon; The Honourable UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression; UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention