NewsSpecial WireRights group calls for release of two journalists held...

Rights group calls for release of two journalists held in Iran

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Iran Focus: London, May 27 – The international press freedoms organisation Reporters Without Borders demanded on Saturday the “immediate release” of two Iranian Azeri journalists who were detained by authorities following mass anti-government demonstrations earlier this week by ethnic Azeris in north-west Iran. Iran Focus

London, May 27 – The international press freedoms organisation Reporters Without Borders demanded on Saturday the “immediate release” of two Iranian Azeri journalists who were detained by authorities following mass anti-government demonstrations earlier this week by ethnic Azeris in north-west Iran.

Amin Movahedi was detained on Friday in the city of Meshkinshar and Orouj Amiri was arrested on Thursday in the nearby city of Marand, the group said in a statement.

“Absolutely no charges have been brought against Movahedi and Amiri and the authorities have not said where they are being held”, it said. “These journalists are being subjected to illegal harassment simply for working independently”.

The statement said that Movahedi was arrested by gunmen in civilian dress as he was leaving his home in Meshkinshar, Ardebil province, adding that he had previously been detained by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security for three days in December.

Amiri, who writes for several local papers, was arrested as his home in Marand, East Azerbaijan province, by plain-clothes police who hit him when he asked to see their warrant, the group said. “They searched his home and took personal documents, CDs, and the hard disk of his computer. His wife was forcibly led away for protesting against his arrest”.

At least nine people have been killed by government forces since Monday when a wave of anti-government protests began in dozens of towns and cities in the north-west of the country against the publication of an insulting cartoon in the official daily Iran.

On Monday, at least 100,000 Azeris rallied in the city of Tabriz. Subsequently, thousands have taken part in often violent demonstrations in the towns of Orumieh, Zanjan, Marand, and Ardebil.

Ethnic Azeris make up approximately 25 percent of Iran’s population.

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