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Iranian Daily Targeted Over Article Critical Of Tehran Detention Facility

  • RFE/RL

The daily Ghanoon (file photo)

The daily Ghanoon (file photo)

An Iranian newspaper is facing legal action over an article critical of detention conditions at a penitentiary facility in Tehran, with a senior prosecutor blaming such writings for public feelings of "hopelessness."

The June 11 piece, titled Damned 24 Hours, was based on the experience of a detainee who claimed his brief time in quarantine there was a "nightmare."

The reason for his detention was not clear from the report.

Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi has dismissed the daily Ghanoon article as a "lie" and said the paper's editor in chief will be prosecuted following a complaint by the country's prison authorities.

Speaking on June 14, Dolatabadi said there have been many such "negative headlines and articles" that create "hopelessness" and "worry" among citizens.

Ghanoon said detainees at the facility, located south of the capital, are only granted access to nonpotable water of "poor quality" for two hours per day.

The article also quoted the unnamed detainee as saying that he and other prisoners were insulted by guards at the facility and that his coat was cut to pieces before it and his other clothes and shoes were dumped in a garbage can.

He said he was freed at night without his belongings, including his keys, watch, and money.

"The prisoner is left on his own in the dark desert without any money while wearing a pair of plastic slippers, hoping that a passing car might pick him up out of mercy," he was quoted by Ghanoon as saying.

Iranian media routinely face tough state censorship and the threat of closure by state authorities.

Ghanoon was temporarily banned in 2014 over a news report about the release from custody over possible corruption charges against a former member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and manager of a soccer club. Judiciary authorities claimed the report was "false."

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