Iran releases journalists, bans weekly
Tehran, March 1, 2010
Iranian authorities banned a moderate weekly magazine on Monday, semi-official news agency Fars reported, a day after the release of six detained journalists.
The agency's report said the licence of the magazine 'Iran Dokht', close to defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karoubi, was revoked by a state press supervision body.
Several publications have been banned and many journalists detained since street protests broke out in the aftermath of presidential elections last year.
Moderate websites reported in early February the total number of journalists in detention had risen to at least 55, including the assistant editor-in-chief of Iran Dokht weekly.
Media reports on Monday said six journalists, including Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, Ali Hekmat and Mohammad Javad Mozafar who was also a rights activist, were released on bail from Tehran's Evin prison late on Sunday.
Their release happened less than a month ahead of the Iranian new year which starts on March 21. Security forces have warned the opposition against using it as an occasion to renew anti-government protests.
The disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009 plunged the Islamic Republic into its deepest internal crisis in its three-decade history and created a rift within the ruling establishment.
Reformist opposition leaders and their supporters say the poll was rigged to secure Ahmadinejad's re-election, an allegation that the authorities deny.
Hardliners accused opposition leaders Mirhossein Mousavi and Karoubi of inciting unrest and called them 'enemies of God', a crime punishable by death under Iran's Islamic law. – Reuters