Iran: flogging sentences against journalists amount to a flagrant violation of human rights!

A protest in front of an Iran Air agency in Paris, on July 10, 2012 denounces journalists’ imprisonment and tortures in Iran. © AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today joined its affiliate, the Association of Iranian Journalists, in calling for setting aside a court ruling ordering flogging two Iranian journalists who have been convicted with “inaccurate reporting” conviction. Local reports said that Iranian journalists Mustafa Barari and Arash Shoaa, from Gilan Noveen and Gilan No news websites, have received flogging sentences and a fine by the Revolutionary Court in Rasht city, north of Iran, following the complaint of one member of the Iranian Parliament over their publications. The journalists, who were charged with “spreading lies” and “publication without a license”, now face 114 and 40 floggings as well as 1 million Rial (almost 30,000 Euro) fine for the charge of “insult”. They have appealed the sentences and both websites are still controlled by the authorities, media added. Furthermore, another journalist received 40 lashes on 5 January in the city of Najaf Abad after a court found him guilty of inaccurately reporting about the number of motorcycles confiscated by police in the city, according to human rights groups. Last year, an appeal court sentenced journalist Mohammad Reza Tathi to 459 lashes last July for “publishing lies” and “creating unease in the public mind” through his writing. The IFJ and its affiliate in Iran strongly oppose such inhuman practices and urge the authorities to put an immediate end to such charges against reporters. “We are appalled by these outrageous flogging sentences handed down to Iranian journalists,” said IFJ President, Philippe Leruth. “Such cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment our colleagues are facing is a flagrant violation of their basic human rights under international human rights law. We therefore demand the Iranian authorities to comply with their international obligations within their borders and stop muzzling Iranian media.”

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