IFJ Calls for Reprieve for Journalists Facing Execution in Iran after Secret Trial

The International Federation of Journalists today called for an urgent reprieve for two journalists reported to be facing the death sentence after a trial held behind closed doors.

The IFJ has been told by its affiliate in nearby Iraq, the Kurdistan Syndicate of Journalists, that Adnan Hassan, who formerly worked for the magazine ASOW, which has been closed and banned since August 2005, and his colleague Hewa Botemar, a journalist working for the magazine and a member of an environmental NGO, have been condemned for subverting national security.

The two men are thought to be political activists and were accused of writing articles calling for regime change in Iran.

“If true, this is a shocking denial of justice,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Journalists should never been condemned to die for their work, no matter how challenging that may be to the authorities. If they have contravened the law they should be subject to a fair and open trial in line with international standards of jurisprudence.”

The IFJ is particularly concerned that the men were put on trial in secret raising questions about the fairness of the process. The IFJ is asking its affiliate in Iran to investigate the situation on its behalf.

“It is vital that we put a searching spotlight on what happened here,” said White. “If put on trial it should be fair and open and if convicted they may be punished, but in no circumstances should they be sentenced to die. We hope that they will be reprieved.”