Over 65 reporters face spying charges in Iran: rights group

UNITED NATIONS — More than 65 journalists, bloggers and writers have been detained in Iran since last June’s disputed presidential polls and could be tried on charges of “spying” for the foreign media, a New York-based media rights group said Tuesday.

“The picture (in Iran) is pretty gloomy,” Robert Mahoney, deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) told a press conference here as he presented a worldwide 2009 survey titled “Attacks on the Press in 2009” and highlighted the detentions in Iran.

Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian correspondent for Newsweek who was jailed in Iran in June and released four months later, also told reporters that more than 100 journalists, bloggers and writers had been arrested at different periods since the elections, including the more than 65 who were still behind bars.

“They can all be accused of spying for the foreign media,” he said, noting that spying carries the death penalty in Iran.

“The government has no respect for the privacy of individuals,” Bahari said. “The strategy of the Iranian government is to make everyone’s life, especially journalists’ lives, insecure.”


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