Jailed Iranian journalist starts hunger strike
TEHRAN, Jan 31 (Reuters) - An outspoken Iranian journalist held in prison
on a "temporary" detention order for more than five months, has
gone on hunger strike, newspapers said on Wednesday.
Hamshahri newspaper quoted the spouse of the reformist Ahmad Zeydabadi
as saying he had gone on hunger strike to protest against prison conditions.
Other newspapers carried similar reports.
Zeydabadi has been in prison for more than five months without trial.
In a separate development, newspapers said the publisher of the banned
reformist daily Payam-e Azadi (Message of Freedom) was summoned to the
hardline press courts. Details of charges against the newspaper remained
Iran's judiciary has closed down more than 30 independent publications
and jailed many reformist activists - some as yet without trial - since
the crackdown on freedom of expression began last year.
Hardliners who control the judicial apparatus say they took their cue
from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who accused the independent
press of being "bases of the enemy", last April.
The speech signalled a crackdown on Iran's nascent press freedoms by
hardliners opposed to social and political reforms and the concept of a
modern civil society.
Khamenei later ordered parliament not to debate a motion to reform Iran's
draconian press laws which would have eased the pressures on the once-flourishing