Target: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Goal: Release or sentence detained and uncharged journalists
Two journalists were arrested in their home in July 2014, and are being detained, uncharged. Tehran’s judiciary head, Gholamhossein Esmaeili confirmed the arrest of the Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent, Jason Rezaian for “questioning.” What he is being questioned about is unknown. The journalist—who has dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship—was arrested along with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi. The couple is being held along with two unnamed freelance photographers.
Since their detainment, there have been no charges, no confirmation of any type of legal counsel or assurance of their health. Neither the Washington Post, nor the detainees’ families have heard word from them or of their whereabouts. The only information has been the confirmation of Rezaian’s detainment for questioning. Along with colleagues’ fears that Rezaian’s medical needs are not being met—he suffers from high blood pressure and requires medication—are concerns that the arrests are meant to silence the journalists. These concerns are not without merit. Iran’s government has a long record of journalist harassment.
According to Human Rights Watch, at least seven other journalists have been arrested or brought in for questioning in the past two months. On May 10, 2014, Serajeddin Mirdamadi was arrested and later sentenced to six years for “collusion and gathering against national security,” and “propaganda against the state.” On July 14, 2014, authorities summoned local journalist, Sajedeh Arabsorkhi, to serve out a sentence of one year, imposed by a Tehran revolutionary court. She was charged with “propaganda against the state,” reportedly after criticizing her father’s arrest. Her father, Faizollah Arabsorkhi was a member of an opposition party and was arrested following the 2009 election of President Ahmadinejad.
The detainment of Rezaian and Salehi is either an attempt by the Iranian government to silence the couple or there are valid charges to be brought against them. Urge the government of Iran to either charge or release the two journalists immediately.
Dear President Rouhani,
Jason Rezaian and Yeganeh Salehi were detained in July 2014, but have yet to be charged of any crime, their whereabouts are unknown to both employers and family and it is unclear if they are receiving necessary medical treatment.
The arbitrary detainment of Rezaian and Salehi is in violation of international human rights law. Unless charges are brought against them, the couple must be released immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: kremlin.ru via Wikimedia Commons