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Armenian Journalists Urge Release Of Iranian Colleagues


Iran -- Copies of Iranian newspaper Kalemeh Sabz (Green Word), owned by Mir Hossein Musavi, in Tehran, 24Jun2009

Two dozen Armenian journalists have signed a petition urging the release of dozens of their Iranian colleagues reportedly arrested in an ongoing crackdown on dissent that followed Iran’s disputed presidential election.

“We, the undersigned Armenian journalists and photographers, are deeply worried about the fate of dozens of our colleagues and comrades in Iran,” reads the statement posted by them on the Internet.

“We wish strength and patience to the families of arrested journalists, bloggers and photographers, who have no information about their relatives’ whereabouts. We hope that our colleagues will be freed as soon as possible and be able to continue their activities freely and objectively,” it says.

According to the Paris-based group Reporters Sans Frontiers, 49 Iranian reporters and bloggers have been arrested by Iranian authorities since the start of massive opposition demonstrations against the alleged rigging of the June 12 vote.

“Journalists there are caught for various reasons,” said Taguhi Torosian, an independent journalist who initiated the petition. “They are accused of treason and espionage. But of course the main purpose of those arrests to keep them from spreading truthful information.”

Torosian claimed that the crackdown on Iranian media not controlled by the ruling regime is also setting a “dangerous precedent for Armenia because not all is well with freedom of speech here.”

The Armenian government also used lethal force to end massive street protests and arrested scores of opposition members following last year’s presidential election. But unlike the Iranian authorities, it refrained from jailing any reporters.
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