Ahead of Elections, Arrests and Coerced Confessions Ramp Up

(2 February 2012) The Iranian judiciary should immediately stop its widespread campaign of intimidation against journalists and their family members, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.

The Campaign also called for an end to the illegal coercion of detainees. The Campaign expressed serious concern over the videotaping of false confessions and the possibility of politically motivated broadcasts ahead of the 2 March 2012 parliamentary elections.

“Harassing journalists, activists, and their family members shows the inhumane and unlawful practices the Iranian intelligence services use to silence these people,” said Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the Campaign. “Any televised confession by these detainees released in the run-up to the March parliamentary election would likely be politically motivated and false.”

In the past month, Iranian intelligence and security forces have arrested at least nine independent journalists and writers, including Parastoo Dokouhaki, Marzieh Rassouli, and Sahamoddin Bouraghani. Family members of Iranian journalists living abroad, including the family member of a BBC Persian employee in London, have also been harassed, questioned, or detained.

Intelligence agents have been pressuring a number of these detainees to make on-camera confessions. Interrogators have been particularly focused on the BBC, pressuring some of these detainees to say that they have cooperated with and provided info… >>>

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