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IFJ condemns arrest of journalists' union leader

(IFJ/IFEX) - November 4, 2010 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the Iranian authorities to release Mohammadreza Moghise, a board member of the Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ), who was arrested on October 22 and has not been heard from since. This is the second time he has been arrested since the political unrest which followed the disputed Presidential election of June 2009.

"We are very concerned for the welfare and safety of Mohammadreza Moghise who should be given immediate access to his family and a lawyer," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The authorities must end the targeting of independent journalists and union leaders for expressing their views."

The AoIJ, an IFJ affiliate, says Moghise was arrested and jailed for five months last year before being released on a 30.000 Euro bail. He was again arrested last week and has made no contact with his family since then.

Moghise is one of tens of journalists who have been targeted by the clampdown on media imposed by the authorities in the wake of widespread protests following the 2009 elections. The IFJ says at least 30 journalists are behind bars and many more have fled the country fearing arrest. At the same time dozens of newspapers have been closed and the offices of the AoIJ were forcibly closed in August 2009.

"The intolerance of dissent and independent voices in Iran has led to an all-out assault on media and independent journalism by the state," added White. "Journalists are being made to pay a heavy price because the government has lost public trust."

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