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Iranian Journalists Pen Open Letter To Judiciary Chief

Iran judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani listens to a speech in the Assembly of Experts in February.
More than 100 Iranian journalists and bloggers have written an open letter to Iran's judiciary chief to demand the immediate release of their jailed colleagues, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The letter to Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, published on April 10 and supported by a number of lawyers, described the crackdown on the media by the government in the wake of Iran's controversial presidential election last summer.

The letter says a significant number of newspapers have been closed, websites filtered or blocked, and journalists arrested for criticizing the government.

It added that some of those arrested "have been tried and convicted by revolutionary courts without a jury or even a lawyer. Many have been in temporary detention for months with an uncertain fate and some have been temporarily released after posting extremely expensive bail."

The letter adds that Iranian authorities claim writing newspaper articles or granting interviews to foreign media outlets "distort the image of the regime."

The letter then asks: "Doesn't jailing journalists and bloggers without a fair trial distort the image of the regime?"

The letter says journalists have a responsibility to inform and to criticize. It implores Larijani to "Free our friends and colleagues so that they can fulfill their duties."