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posted January 22, 2001 12:19     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Human Rights Watch
New York

January 19, 2001

Human Rights Watch today strongly condemned Iran's closure of Kiyan, a ten-year-old independent journal that specialized in issues of philosophy, religion, and literature. Kiyan's closure was announced by
state-controlled radio and television on January 17. The international monitoring organization urged the Iranian authorities to lift the closure order immediately and end the government's campaign to suppress
independent critical media.

"This closure is the final nail in the coffin for press freedom in Iran," said Hanny Megally, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. Many of Iran's leading intellectual and artistic figures contributed to the journal during the decade it published. Kiyan's articles were serious
and academic in tone and avoided factional political conflict. The magazine presented diverse interpretations of Islamic law and promoted open debate on religious and philosophical questions.

The summary closure was ordered by Saeed Mortazavi, a judge in Branch 1410 of the Tehran General Court, which deals with press offenses. The order was based on a complaint from Abbasali Alizadeh, the head of the Justice Department in Tehran, in his capacity as general prosecutor. Under Iranian law, only the Press Supervisory Board within the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance can order the closure of newspapers and magazines. The judiciary in this case cited Article 156 (5) of the Constitution, which it
claimed empowered it to take "appropriate measures in order to prevent crime." Mortazavi stated that Kiyan had "published lies, disturbed public opinion and insulted sacred religion." The judge further cited Articles 12 and 13 of the Precautionary Measures Law, part of Iranian penal law, which empowers courts to order the seizure of "instruments used for committing

"This expansion of the scope of penal laws to suppress freedom of expression is bad news for ordinary Iranians who want independent sources of information," Megally said, noting that more than thirty newspapers and magazines have been closed in this manner since April 2000.

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posted March 19, 2001 11:27     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Iran bans four reformist publications

TEHRAN, March 18 (Reuters) - Iran's hardline judiciary has banned four reformist publications in the latest setback to moderate President Mohammad Khatami's reform programme. The official IRNA news agency said the judiciary had issued a statement on
Sunday banning the Doran-e Emrouz daily for "repeated violations of press law."

The statement said the paper's publisher, Hamid Reza Zahedi, faced legal action.

IRNA said earlier that the popular monthly Payam-e Emrouz and two weekly newspapers, Mobin and Jameah Madani, had also been ordered to stop publishing.

The bans bring to more than 35 the number of independent publications closed since supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the reformist press of being "bases of the enemy" in a speech last year.

Khamenei, who controls the judiciary, recently promised tough measures against dissidents, accusing them of trying to undermine the Islamic state.

More than a dozen journalists have been imprisoned in the conservative crackdown on Khatami's programme for greater social and political openness.

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