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Another journalist arrested as crackdown on press continues

(CPJ/IFEX) - New York, March 29, 2012 - Iranian authorities have imprisoned two additional journalists as part of their three-year-long crackdown on the press, according to news reports. In addition, the BBC reported that its Web services had been targeted by a distributed denial-of-service attack, which the broadcaster believed originated from the Iranian regime.

"Iranian authorities are using all manner of tactics, many of them brutal, to silence critical journalists, but news of the regime's sustained oppression continues to reach the world," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.
"It is time for Iran to end this indefinite crackdown and allow independent voices to be heard."

Iranian legal proceedings are marked by secrecy, but word of the two new detentions emerged in recent news reports. Security forces arrested Tahmineh Monzavi, an award-winning freelance photographer, at her workplace in the capital, Tehran, on February 19, and searched her home, reformist news websites said. The journalist has documented sensitive social issues in the country like homelessness and drug addiction. Authorities did not disclose her whereabouts, legal status, or health condition.

Nazanin Khosravani, a political columnist for several now-banned reformist newspapers, was summoned to Tehran's Evin Prison in early March to serve the six-year prison term she was handed in February 2011 on charges of "assembly and collusion against national security" and "propagating against the regime," according to news reports. Khosravani was arrested in November 2010 and spent 132 days in prison with much of her time in solitary confinement, the reports said.

Also this month, the BBC was targeted by a "sophisticated cyber-attack" that caused disruptions in its email and Internet services, the broadcaster reported . The BBC's director general, Mark Thompson, said the Internet attack "coincided with efforts to jam two of the service's satellite feeds into Iran." The regime has targeted the BBC Persian-language service in the past by jamming its satellite signal and arresting and harassing relatives of its staff members in Iran, CPJ research shows .

The health of several Iranian journalists has also deteriorated in prison.

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