Iran: three journalists face heavy jail sentences

Three Iranian journalists who were arrested in November 2015 have been handed lengthy jail sentences after the court in Tehran found them guilty this week of several charges, including spreading propaganda and acting against national security. Ehsan Mazandarani, editor-in-chief of newspaper Farhikhtegan, was sentenced to 7 years in jail while Iran newspaper’s journalist Afarin Chitsaz and Saman Safarzaee, who works for the monthly Andisheh Pouya, both received 5-year sentences. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), representing over 600,000 journalists across the globe, has today condemned the convictions which continue a dangerous pattern of press freedom’s violations in the country. According to the IFJ sources, 19 journalists are currently held in prison in Iran. Contrary to President Hassan Rouhani’s election promises to create a more secure working environment for journalists and the media, press freedom still remains under threat in the country. The Federation has also reiterated frustration over the unlawful closure since August 2009 of offices of its affiliate, the Association of Iranian Journalists’ (AoIJ) premises, the imprisonment of several of AoIJ leaders followed by travel and work bans imposed on them and aimed at dismantling the IFJ affiliate in clear violation of international law and ILO conventions. “We call on Iranian authorities to respect the Iranian constitution and honour its international commitments, to protect press freedom and release all imprisoned journalists who have been jailed without a valid reason,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “The reopening of our affiliate’s offices in Tehran should be in the top priorities of Iranian’s government’s actions to sustain press freedom by providing a voice to those who fight for the journalistic profession,” he added.  

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