Iranian journalists are amongst those who have become victims of human rights abuse, as a result of their work in promoting human rights in Iran and have been oppressed by Iran’s security agents and judiciary. Journalists’ writings and ideas for peace have made them targets for human rights abusers.
In recent years, some very disturbing stories have been reported on the status of independent media and journalists, which require urgent attention. The International Federation of Journalists and other human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have described the situation of journalists in Iran to be worrying and complicated and they have stated the intimidation of journalists in recent years has been the worst ever.
Reporters Without Borders have said Iran continues to have the largest number of journalists in prison and have named Iran as the biggest prison of journalists.
The increasing pressure on journalists by the security agents follows no laws and rules and this has forced many of them to leave their motherland, against their will, to seek refuge in neighboring countries and ask for asylum from UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Many are currently incarcerated and those seeking asylum face heavy sentences if they return to Iran.
It is with much sadness that I have learned many Iranian journalists who have fled to Turkey are living under very difficult conditions there. Many Human Rights and political activists as well as journalists face the same uncertainty.
Iranian security agents have threatened some of them on numerous occasions and caused them anxiety.
Lack of security in Turkey has caused me to write this letter to you, so that Iranian journalists and human rights activists who are residing in Turkey can be helped by whatever means possible and transferred to safer countries.
If we can support human rights, then we must support human rights activists too, who truly have paid the price for their beliefs with their lives and freedoms to make the voices of the victims of human rights abuse heard.
It is very sad that the renowned Iranian Journalists, Hadi Nili, who for years has been harassed and interrogated by the intelligence ministry agents, has remained in Turkey for over two years and has not been able to reach freedom.
Truly, the ongoing uncertainty and overdue stay of such people and others, whom I will name below, in an unsafe country for them, like Turkey is just, added torture for them.
Behrooz Samad Beigi has been living in a worrying condition for more than 13 months.
Hamid Mafi and his wife, Maryam Akbari, have been living in terrible conditions for more than 10 months and have been threatened on numerous occasions.
Ehsanollah Mehrabi and his wife have been exiled to a village near Syria and their situation is very worrying.
Mehdi Tajik Ghashghaei, one of the seasoned Iranian journalists has got to wait for his first UN interview until July 2013.
Alireza Firouzi, a young tireless human rights activist has to wait until February 2013 for his case to be heard by UN officials.
Also Mr. Farhad Nouri Koochi entered Van in Turkey on 09/21/2011. Subsequent to his registration with UNHCR on 09/16/2011, his first interview was scheduled for 12/16/2011. However, due to the earthquake in Van, his interview was cancelled. Unfortunately, Mr. Koochi still has NOT heard anything from UNHCR regarding rescheduling his interview date. Mr. Koochi is a human rights activist and an active member of the Nematollahi Gonabadi Dervishes, and administrator of Nematollahi Gonabadi Order News Site “Majzooban Noor”, a recognized religious minority Sufi group that has been subject to mass arrests and persecution in Iran.
Unfortunately there are a lot of Human Rights activist, like Mr. Babak Ejlali and Homayon Naderifar, who need to your help.
Let me emphasise again, if we are able to defend the rights of journalists and Human Rights activists, we should defend them wherever and whenever we can. Today these people need our help. I ask you to help these people by transferring them to a safe country and improving their situation, so that they can continue to help improve the situation of their people.
With much gratitude,
Human Rights Lawyer and Activist
cc: Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
Reporters Without Borders
Committee to Defend Journalists
International Federation of Journalists