90Iranian journalists call on the Iranian authorities to immediately release four journalists, who were arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in early November.The four journalists, Isa Saharkhiz, Ehsan Mazandarani, Afarin Chitsaz, and Saman Safarzaei, were detained in what appears to be a new crackdown on press freedom ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections next year. They are allegedly accused of being members of an “infiltration network” colluding with hostile Western governments, but have not yet been tried in court.
“We, the undersigned journalists, believe that arresting these four journalists is an attack on press freedom, and we demand their immediate release,“ starts the petition signed by 90 Iranian journalists on December 2, 2015.
“The four journalists were arrested on trumped-up and baseless charges of collaborating with foreign media, even though President Hassan Rouhani has publicly voiced his objection to the arrests.”
According to the petition, the detention of the four journalists is a violation of international human rights agreements as well as Iran’s constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression for all Iranian citizens including journalists.
“According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression is an inalienable right of all human beings. Anyone accused of a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty in a fair trial,” the petition says, and ends:
“The detention of these journalists is illegal and a violation of their legal rights. The responsible authorities must take action and release the imprisoned journalists.”