February 11, 2020 – The intelligence arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is summoning journalists, raiding their homes and confiscating their electronic devices in a renewed campaign to silence criticism of state policies ahead of Iran’s parliamentary elections later this month.
“Muzzling journalists, detaining activists, and disqualifying parliamentary candidates will not silence dissent in Iran, as the recent protests have shown,” said the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) Hadi Ghaemi.
“Engaging in independent journalism and peaceful activism should not be a life-endangering act,” he added.
According to first-hand testimonies provided to CHRI, the recent crackdown is aimed at journalists and activists who maintain active social media accounts.
Those targeted include human rights defender and former prisoner of conscience Bahareh Hedayat, who was detained on February 10 after appearing at the University of Tehran’s “security” office in response to a summons.
At least 10 journalists have also been targeted by the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization in the past two weeks including Yasaman Khaleghian, a freelance social affairs reporter; Maziar Khosravi, a former political reporter and editor at the reformist Shargh newspaper; Moloud Hajizadeh, a women’s affairs reporter at Taadol Newspaper; Yaghma Fashkhami, a former reporter at the Didban Iran news website; Ehsan Bodaghi, a parliamentary reporter for the state-funded Iran newspaper and his journalist wife Shabnam Nezami (affiliation unknown), as well as Mona Mafi (affiliation unknown).
“The IRGC is issuing summons and getting search warrants to raid the homes of journalists,” said a reporter in Tehran who requested anonymity for security purposes.
Following is an excerpt of the reporter’s detailed account of recent events:
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