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Rights Groups Petition For Release Of Jailed Journalists In Iran

A coalition of media freedom organizations has delivered a petition to Iran’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York demanding the immediate release of dozens of journalists, writers, and bloggers currently imprisoned in the country.

The New York-based Committee To Protect Journalists, one of the sponsors of the campaign, says in a press release that more than 3,500 people signed the petition, including many well-known writers, journalists, and rights advocates.

The petition campaign is titled “Our Society Will Be A Free Society,” in reference to a quote by Iran’s late Supreme Leader Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini, who said in 1978 on the eve of the revolution: “Our future society will be a free society, and all the elements of oppression, cruelty, and force will be destroyed.”

“We hope those in jail will be heartened by this level of international attention,” said Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). “By collecting these names from all corners of the world, we want to convey to our imprisoned colleagues the depth of our concern and to Iranian authorities the depth of our outrage.”

According to CPJ, at least 34 journalists were jailed in Iran as of April 1, and another 18 were free on short-term furloughs but were expected to report back to prison soon.

Meanwhile today, Iranian journalist and human rights activist Abolfazl Abedini has reportedly been given an 11-year prison sentence.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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