- A woman has been flogged and then hanged in Varamin
- A cab driver sexually assaulted a six-year-old girl in Iran
- U.S. casts doubt on credibility of Iran election
- Demonstrations in two Iranian universities
- Shahrokh Zamani and Khaled Hardani are on hunger strike
- Another civilian is sentenced to death in Khomeini Shahr
- US Congress Moves Toward Full Trade Embargo on Iran
- Israel says UN pressure having no effect on curbing Iran nukes
- U.S. Congress moves to tighten sanctions on Iran
- Iran pushes ahead with new nuclear plant that worries West
- Iran acts to expand sensitive nuclear capacity: diplomats
- CIA head visits Israel to discuss Syria, Iran's nuclear program
- Women skirt Iranian music ban with fancy dress
- Religious leaders ban 30 women from running for Iran's presidency
- Iranian cleric: Women can't be president in Iran
- Iranians marrying foreigners without state consent face prosecution
- More women smuggling drugs out of Iran
- Canada’s High Court could try Iran for Zahra Kazemi murder
- Iranian troops are fighting in Syria, says US
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Bahrain claims Iranian drone found
- UK: Iran, Hezbollah increasing support for Assad
- When it comes to Syria and Hezbollah, Israel is walking a tightrope
- IRGC: World now eying Iranian regime's resistance
Thursday 14 June 2012
Freedom Messenger - Iranian journalist Ehsanollah Mehrabi shown behind a partition in Tehran’s Evin prison in 2011
Five Iranian journalists who have fled their country after being persecuted for their work remain unprotected and at risk in Turkey, activists have warned.
Ehsanollah Mehrabi, Behrooz Samad Beigi, Hadi Nili, Hamid Ma’afi and Mehdi Tajik Ghashghaei were all journalists working for Iranian reformist or opposition media organisations but had to leave Iran after being subjected to state persecution in the unrest in the aftermath of Iran’s disputed presidential election in 2009.
Mehrabi, a prominent parliament correspondent who has worked for a number of reformist newspapers, including Etemad-e-Melli and Hambastegi, was picked up by security officials in February 2010 in a post-election government crackdown against journalists. He was subsequently taken to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.
He spent one year in jail after being convicted of “spreading propaganda against the regime” for his articles and left Iran with his wife in 2011 shortly after his release.
After arriving in Turkey, Mehrabi, like his other four colleagues, sought asylum with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) but has not yet been granted refugee status after several months of arriving in the country despite his high profile work. Mehrabi’s colleagues also remain unprotected.
Human rights activists have now expressed concern about the safety of the five men who they say still receive threats by the Iranian authorities.
“Iranian security agents have threatened some of [the journalists] on numerous occasions and caused them anxiety,” warned Mohammad Mostafaei, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer based in Norway, who himself fell victim to the regime’s suppression of activists.
“Iranian journalists are amongst those who have become victims of human rights abuse,” he added. “It is with much sadness thatnmany Iranian journalists who have fled to Turkey, are living under very difficult conditions there.”
Iran is one of the world’s top jailer of journalists, according to the New York-based the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Speaking from Turkey to the Guardian by telephone, Mehrabi expressed disappointment at his state of uncertainty in that country and said: “We feel very worried here. My wife who had a terrible life for one year while I was in jail is now under sever psychological pressure due to our circumstance.”
He added: “In a way my situation in Turkey is worse than my situation in Evin prison. When I was in jail, at least I knew when I’d be out and safe but the sense of uncertainty here kills you.”
Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist and activist based in London said she was “heartbroken” to see that a journalist like Mehrabi had not been granted protection by western governments.
“When Iran’s green movement took to the streets, the west encouraged them and claimed to be ready to support them for their cause,” she said. “Now that such valuable sources need help, it’s sad to see that no one is stretching hand.”
“Putting Mehrabi and his colleagues in a limbo situation just serves the Iranian regime as they would not be able to continue their work and inform the world of what is happening inside Iran,” she warned.