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WAN Protests Prosecution of Iranian Journalist

Paris, 10 January 2000
For immediate release

The World Association of Newspapers has protested against the prosecution of a pro-reform journalist in Iran and called on President Mohammed Khatami to halt the trial.

According to reports, Journalist Said Hajarian of the pro-reform Sobh-e Emrooz newspaper appeared in Tehran's Press Court last week, accused of having "disclosed confidential information," though no further specifics were given.

"The prosecution of Mr. Hajarian is a clear breach of his right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by numerous international conventions, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran has ratified," the Paris-based WAN said in a letter to President Khatami.

The letter, signed by WAN President Bengt Braun, called on the president "to ensure that the prosecution of Mr. Hajarian is halted immediately and that all charges are dropped."

WAN said five reformist publications were closed by Iranian authorities in 1999 and it asked President Khatami "to do everything in your power to ensure that all Iranian citizens are able to exercise fully their right to freedom of expression."

It was the second time in as many months that WAN, the global organization of the newspaper industry, has asked the President to intervene in cases against pro-reformists. Late last year, WAN condemned the heavy jail sentences handed out to Iranian editor and former Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri, and to editor Mashallah Shamsolvaezin.

WAN defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 17,000 newspapers; its membership includes 63 national newspaper associations, individual newspaper executives in 93 countries, 17 news agencies and seven regional and world-wide press groups.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 25 rue d'Astorg, 75008 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail: lkilman@wan.asso.fr

Larry Kilman Director of Communications World Association of Newspapers 25, rue d'Astorg 75008 Paris France Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00 Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48 E-mail: lkilman@wan.asso.fr

Visit our web site at www.wan-press.org

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