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In Iran, newspaper owners held arbitrarily since 2011

Mehdi Karoubi, a 77-year-old newspaper owner who has been under house arrest since February 2011, was taken to an unknown place of detention of 17 January after undergoing two back operations – a laminectomy and discectomy – at Tehran's Arad Hospital.

A dissident theologian, former parliamentary speaker and owner of the closed newspaper Etemad Melli, Karoubi has been hospitalized a total of five times since mid-2013 for various ailments including a heart condition, according to his wife, Fatemeh Karoubi. He underwent an angioplasty on 31 July.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, the owner of the closed newspaper Kalameh Sabaz, and Mousavi's wife, the writer Zahra Rahnavard, who were placed under house arrest at the same time as Karoubi, continue to be held at their home on the intelligence ministry's order.

Mousavi and Rahnavard have also been hospitalized several times in Tehran – in August 2012, September 2013 and most recently October 2013 – for heart problems. Karoubi, Mousavi and Rahnavard are being held arbitrarily. There is no legal basis for their detention under either Iranian or international law. Depriving them of their freedom and denying them the right to a fair trial is a flagrant violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On 8 January 2014 - Government closes ultra-conservative weekly

Reporters Without Borders condemns the suspension of Yalasarat Hossien, a weekly published by the radical Islamist group Hezbollah in Iran, following articles in recent weeks that were very critical of moderate conservative President Hassan Rouhani's government, especially its nuclear accords.

It was suspended on 6 January by the Press Licensing and Surveillance Commission – an offshoot of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance – under article 12 of the press code for “insults and defamation” and “publishing false information.”

Reporters Without Borders has meanwhile also learned that Ali Asghar Gharavi, a journalist arrested on 10 November in connection with an article in the 23 October issue of the reformist daily Bahar, was released on bail yesterday pending trial.

The Press Licensing and Surveillance Commission suspended Bahar on 28 October for publishing the article .

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