Call for release of two imprisoned journalists

first_img Organisation Iran is stepping up pressure on journalists, including foreign journalists, in run-up to election Reporters Without Borders called today for the immediate release of reformist Iranian Arab journalist Yosef Azizi Banitrouf, who was arrested in a raid on his home on 25 April. It also demanded the release of dissident journalist Reza Alijani, expressing “great concern” about his deteriorating health after two years in prison. June 9, 2021 Find out more to go further IranMiddle East – North Africa “We strongly deplore the arrest of Banitrouf, who was simply expressing his personal opinion in articles and in interviews given to other newspapers,” it said. “As soon as a journalist speaks out in Iran, the authorities crack down, either by closing the paper concerned or throwing the journalist in prison.”There are now 12 journalists and cyber-dissidents in jail in Iran, which remains the Middle East’s biggest prison for journalists.” Eight plainclothes agents raided Banitrouf’s home and seized all his papers, his computer and telephone address book. The agents said they had a warrant but refused to show it to his wife or say where they were taking him, though he is thought to be in Teheran’s Evin prison along with most of the country’s other jailed journalists. After giving interviews to the national and international media a few hours after he was taken away, his wife received threatening phone calls from one of the agents who told her not to talk to the media.The arrest came after ethnic clashes on 15 April in the southern region of Khuzistan between security forces and the majority Arab community there. Banitrof is a leading Arab intellectual in Iran and had defended the protesters and condemned the violence. He worked for 12 years for the daily Persian-language paper Hamshari bu was sacked when hardliners took it over. He now writes for several other papers. Reporters Without Borders said Alijani’s respiratory problems had worsened because of the harsh conditions of his detention. Officials at Evin prison have refused to give him medical treatment he urgently needs despite pleas from his wife. The worldwide press freedom organisation called for immediate release so he could be cared for by doctorsHe has been in Evin prison since 14 June 2003 and began a hunger-strike a week ago, on 20 April. However he was too weak to keep it up longer than three days after losing a lot of weight. He has already lost eight kgs.Reporters Without Borders set up a programme more than 15 years ago to get international media to adopt imprisoned journalists and publicise their plight to ensure they are not forgotten. More than 200 media outlets around the world currently sponsor such journalists and regularly urge governments to release them. June 11, 2021 Find out more IranMiddle East – North Africa News News Help by sharing this information center_img Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists Alijani has been adopted by Genève Home Information, Ottawa Citizen, 93.3 (Radio Québec), “La presse dans tous ses états” (CIBL), Mozaik Media, El periodico de Catalunya, Aldaketa Hamasei-Cambio 16, La Voz del Occidente, REE and McGill Daily. April 26, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Call for release of two imprisoned journalists News Follow the news on Iran Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 Receive email alerts News RSF_en March 18, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

As trial of 44 journalists resumes, court continues to ban use of Kurdish

first_img Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor November 13, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 As trial of 44 journalists resumes, court continues to ban use of Kurdish to go further Follow the news on Turkey April 2, 2021 Find out more Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law April 2, 2021 Find out more RSF_en TurkeyEurope – Central Asia The trial of 44 journalists and other employees of Kurdish media accused of being members of a “media committee” operated by the outlawed Union of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK) resumed yesterday in Istanbul after a two-month break.Reporters Without Borders, which attended the hearing, reiterates its call for the release of the 34 defendants who are still detained – and have been since 20 December 2011 – and for them to be given interpreters and allowed to testify in Kurdish.“The right to a fair trial includes the right to use one’s own language in court,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Article 6.3 of the European Convention on Human rights says that ‘everyone charged with a criminal offence’ has the right to ‘the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.’ “By ignoring this right and systematically abusing provisions for preventive detention, Turkey is yet again violating its international obligations. This refusal can only exacerbate the already existing tension, which is far from conducive to the dispassionate atmosphere in which trials should be conducted.“It is with hope that we greet the bill that the ruling AKP party submitted last night, which envisages the possibility for defendants to use their native language. But, as the KCK trial shows, turning this possibility into a reality is a matter of the utmost urgency.”Yesterday’s hearing began with a roll-call of the defendants, to which each of them replied “Az livir im” (“Present” In Kurdish). When addresses were verified, the journalists Fatma Koçak, Nilgün Yildiz and Semiha Alankus refused to speak in Turkish and, speaking in Kurdish, requested interpreters. Not understanding, presiding judge Ali Alçik asked them to sit down.The judge then refused to allow one of the defendants, Kenan Kirkaya, the Ankara representative of the DIHA (Tiger) news agency, to address the court about the declining health of his colleagues who are on hunger strike. Kirkaya just had time to say the hunger strikers were demanding the right to use their own language in court before being expelled by the judge on the grounds that “hunger strikes are irrelevant.” All but one of the defendants then left the court in protest.All of the 44 defendants have joined the hunger strike in recent weeks. The condition of at least three of them is now very worrying. Reporters Without Borders reiterates its concern about their health and their survival, and appeals again to all sides to begin a dialogue in order to avoid the worst.Despite last July’s law reform, under which judges are encouraged to use alternative control methods to preventive detention, 34 of the defendants – who work for DIHA, Özgür Gündem (Free Agenda), Azadiya Welat (Free Country) and Demokrat Modernite (Democratic Modernity) – have been held for nearly 11 months although the trial has only just begun.Yesterday’s hearing was attended by a European parliamentary delegation consisting of the chair of the EU-Turkey parliamentary delegation, Hélène Flautre, and the Polish MEP Jaroslaw Walesa. Those attending also included Turkish Press Council representatives Orhan Birgit and Turgut Kazan, parliamentary representatives of the Kurdish party BDP, and local representatives of Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders.Several of the defence lawyers such as Ercan Kanar and Rusen Mahmutoglu urged the court to dismiss the case if it was unable to make any headway.“You will not succeed in establishing order in the courtroom by force,” Kanar said. “A trial cannot be held under the shadow of firearms. Our clients are on (hunger) strike to defend their universal rights. You cannot even bear to listen to them. They are approaching death but no step has been taken by the authorities.”Judge Alçik said he would listen to no one and intended to proceed with the reading of the 800-page indictment. As announced, reading of the indictment began after all the defendants and lawyers had left the courtroom except Vatan reporter Cagdas Ulus and his lawyer.Reading of the indictment continued today. News Newscenter_img (Picture: Bülent Kilic / AFP) Receive email alerts News Read our previous statements on this case: – 13.09.2012 – In mass trial, journalists get two more months in jail, public barred from court- 10.09.2012 – Authorities asked to stop criminalizing journalism as trial of 36 detained pro-Kurdish journalists gets under way- 20.12.2011 – Police arrest 40 journalists on suspicion of Kurdish separatist linksRead Reporters Without Borders’ recommendations in the report: “A book is not a bomb! Media and justice in Turkey – mistrust and repression” (June 2011) Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit Organisation TurkeyEurope – Central Asia April 28, 2021 Find out more News Help by sharing this information last_img read more