Sun, Jan 29, 2011
Originally published in the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center’s bulletin number 152.
Last week reformist opposition and human rights sources have reported a wave of arrests of journalists and social media activists. Shahram Manouchehri, a pro-reformist journalist and blogger, was arrested last Thursday, January 19. Journalist and photographer Sahameddin Bourghani was arrested in Tehran one day prior to that. The latter worked as a journalist for the reformist newspaper E’temad-e Melli, which was shut down by the authorities in November 2011 and resumed its activity last week. He was also the editor of Iranian Diplomacy, a website affiliated with former top diplomat Sadegh Kharazi, who served in the Foreign Ministry during the government of reformist President Mohammad Khatami. Sahameddin Bourghani is the son of Ahmad Bourghani, who was deputy minister of Islamic guidance in President Khatami’s government and member of the 6th Majles in 2000-2004. He died from a heart attack several years ago.
Also arrested last week were the journalists Peyman Pakmehr, Marzieh Rasouli, and Parastoo Dokouhaki. Pakmehr is a journalist from the city of Tabriz in north Iran and director of the Tabriz News website. Following his arrest he was sent to Evin Prison in Tehran and released on bail several days later. Marzieh Rasouli was arrested at her Tehran residence on January 17 on charges of activity against national security and was also sent to Evin Prison. She specialized in literature and music and formerly worked for ISNA News Agency and the two reformist dailies Sharq and E’temad-e Melli. Parastoo Dokouhaki is a reporter, blogger, and activist for women’s rights. She was likewise arrested on charges of compromising national security and sent to Evin Prison. She was one of the first female bloggers in Iran, and her blog, Zan nevesht, was awarded Blog of the Year by Germany’s Deutsche Welle radio. She worked as a reporter for several newspapers affiliated with the reformist faction, including Sharq, E’temad-e Melli, Hambastegi, and Sarmayeh.
Author and translator Mohammad Soleimani-nia and journalists Fatemeh Kheradmand, Ehsan Houshmand, and Hassan Fathi were arrested one week before that. Reformist opposition sources have claimed that the wave of journalists’ arrests has to do with the Majles elections slated for early March. Reporters Without Borders reported last week that 30 Iranian journalists and 24 bloggers are currently under arrest.