ٍReporters Without Borders: No fewer than 860 journalists and citizen-journalists were prosecuted, arrested, imprisoned and in some cases executed in Iran between 1979 and 2009, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) revealed today on the basis of information in a leaked Iranian justice department digital file.
As the Islamic Republic of Iran was marking the 40th anniversary of its revolution, RSF held a news conference in Paris today to reveal the existence of this leaked file and to expose the scale of the lies that the regime has orchestrated about judicial persecution in Iran for decades.
Confidential until now , the file is a register of all the arrests, imprisonments and executions carried by the Iranian authorities in the Tehran area over four decades. It was leaked to RSF by whistleblowers who want public opinion and international institutions to be aware of the terrible abuses perpetrated by the judicial authorities in their country.
Those participating in today’s press conferences included Iranian Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, a member of a committee that has been created to oversee how the leaked data is used – the Committee for the Observation and Use of Iranian Justice Data*.
The “Iranian Justice Data” file contains approximately 1.7 million records of judicial procedures concerning people from all categories of Iranian society – men, women and minors, members of religious and ethnic minorities, persons accused of non-political crimes and prisoners of conscience, including regime opponents and journalists.
Examination of the file’s contents has yielded previously unavailable evidence of crimes that the Iranian justice system has always tried to conceal or disguise. It has also shed new light on the conditions in which some journalists were held and the charges brought against them.
860 journalists and citizen-journalists in the file
After months of detailed research work on the file’s entries, RSF is in a position to say that at least 860 journalists and citizen-journalists were, arrested, imprisoned and in some cases executed by the Iranian regime between 1979 and 2009, the period on which RSF focused its research.
For each person in the register, the file specifies the name, date and place of birth, sex, nationality, date of the entry in the register and, as appropriate, the date of arrest, the authorities responsible for the arrest, the charges, the court and prosecutor’s office involved, the date of the verdict and the sentence.
The detainee’s professional status is never specified. So the word “journalist” never appears in the file, which makes it easier for the regime to claim that it is not holding any journalist or, more broadly, any prisoner of conscience. This state lie is deliberately orchestrated in order to rebut criticism and deceive international human rights bodies.
Journalists have been detained on such spurious charges as “enemy collaborating with a foreign state,” “activity against domestic security,” “anti-government propaganda” and “spying.” Charges of “insulting what is sacred and Islam” and “insulting the Supreme Leader” have also been used to jail journalists. At least 57 journalists are registered in this file under a charge of this kind >>>