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Targeting of journalists ongoing

(CPJ/IFEX) - New York, January 20, 2012 - The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the most recent spate of press freedom violations in Iran and calls on authorities to immediately reverse its crackdown on the press.

In the past two weeks, Iranian authorities have arrested seven journalists, CPJ research shows. The country was jailing 42 journalists when CPJ carried out its prison census on December 1. Authorities have also sentenced to death three Web technologists, and continue to mistreat imprisoned journalists by withholding medical care.

"Tehran is sending a message to the opposition media that dissent will be treated with a heavy hand," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "Not only are Iranian authorities detaining more journalists but they also persist in mistreating those who have spent time in official custody."

Iran has maintained a revolving-door policy for imprisoning journalists, freeing some detainees on furloughs even as they make new arrests.

Recent press freedom violations in Iran :

-On Wednesday, security forces arrested Sahamoddin Boureghani, a photojournalist with the reformist dailies Shargh and Etemad, in his Tehran home, according to the reformist news website Kaleme. Boureghani is the son of the late reformist and former National Press Director Ahmad Boureghani, who worked in Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance during former President Mohammad Khatami's reign. Officials searched the journalist's home and took him to an unknown location, Kaleme reported. CPJ was unable to obtain further information about his condition or whereabouts, or the charges against him.

-Security forces in Tehran arrested Marzieh Rasouli, writer for the arts and culture sections of Shargh and Etemad, on Tuesday on charges of "acting against national security," news reports said. Her belongings were confiscated, and she is being held in Evin Prison, news reports said.

-On Sunday, Parastoo Dokouhaki, an online journalist for reformist newspapers, was arrested at her home in Tehran and accused of "acting against national security," according to the BBC Persian service. She is being held in Evin Prison, and her belongings were confiscated, news reports said.

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