Monday, March 15, 2010

Uncertainty for Detained Journalists as Nowruz Approaches

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Despite that the families of many detained journalists have secured the bail to release their loved ones for the Persian New Year, there is still no information on the date of their release. There is no news on the release of Akbar Montejabi, Vahid Pourostad, Ehsan Mehrabi, and Somayeh Momeni, seven days after securing bail for the release. According to opposition news agency Kaleme, after providing a bail deposit for the possible release of Mehrabi, Montejabi, Pourostad, and Momeni, the condition of these journalists has intensified, and again they are under interrogation. They have also returned to solitary confinement. Despite the families following up and meeting with prosecutors and the head of Evin prison, there is no word on when the prisoners will be released, even after bail has been secured. The families of the prisoners are under severe mental stress, yet they are hopeful that their loved ones will be released before Nowruz; Persian New Year which takes place this year on March 20th.

80 days have passed since human rights activist Shiva Nazar Ahari was arrested, and her family is still awaiting her release. Shiva Nazar Ahari was previously arrested by security forces at her workplace on June 14, 2009, and she spent 100 days in prison. The CHRR member spent 190 days of the Persian year of 1388 (2009-2010) in jail, 100 days of which was in Evin prison’s solitary confinement cells. CHRR is an independent body that aims to raise awareness and defend the victims of human rights abuses. During its four years of activity, CHRR has published numerous reports, statements, declarations, and articles on human rights violations. The organization has no political affiliations among domestic and foreign activists. Despite this, nine CHRR members have been arrested by security forces in the past year. Additionally, the other members of the committee have not been safe from pressures by security forces.