Two Iranian journalists have been imprisoned since August on charges of “acting against national security”. The IFJ joined its affiliate the Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ) in condemning their arrest and imprisonment by the Iranian authorities, and called for their immediate release.
Agents from the Judiciary Intelligence Agency arrested 34 year old deputy editor of Etemad Sasan Aghaei, on August 13 and journalist for Didban Iran, Yaghma Fashkhami on August 22 on charges of “action against national security” for allegedly cooperating with overseas media, according to the AoIJ. Both men have denied the charges however they are both under pressure from the authorities to offer false confessions, according to reports.
Sasan Aghaei is currently being held in solitary confinement in Evin prison, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). A CHRI source has reported that Iranian authorities suspect Aghaei of collaborating with independent opposition media outlets, which are often banned or censored in Iran.
In October 2011, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez called for the practice of solitary confinement on inmates to be banned, saying it could amount to torture.
Aghaei’s mother reported to Etemad that his arbitrary imprisonment was extended for another month on 13 September and that the judiciary has denied visits from his family since the arrest.
Yaghma Fashkhami's arrest is his second in the last 3 years. Also currently detained at Evin prison, Fashkhami’s brother reported to Iranian media that his arrest has also been extended to one month and that all visit requests have been denied.
“These arrests constitute a gross violation of our colleagues’ human rights as well as rights afforded to journalists and reporters”, said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger. “The IFJ demands that the Iranian government release Sasan Aghaei and Yaghma Fashkhami immediately”.
Iran remains one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, with 5 journalists currently behind bars.