Iranian security forces have been rounding up activists and journalists in recent days.
The latest arrest came on Wednesday when security forces took journalist Sahamoddin (Saham) Bourghani to an unknown location after inspecting his place of residence.
Bourghani is the son of Ahmad Bourghani, a former reformist parliamentarian and Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance official, who died in February 2008. Saham has worked for important pro-reform publications such as Shargh and Etemad newspapers.
In recent days, authorities have stepped up the campaign of arrests against dissidents. Marziyeh Rasouli and Parastoo Dokouhaki were detained on Tuesday. Earlier, authorities arrested student activist Arash Sadeghi as well as journalists Saeid Madani, Fatemeh Kheradmand and Ehsan Houshmand.
In December 2011, a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York based organisation that promotes press freedom and journalist rights, named Iran as the world’s worst jailer of journalists. Eritrea, China, Burma, Vietnam, Syria, and Turkey trailed behind Iran as the world’s worst imprisoners of journalists.
“Iran was the world’s worst jailer, with 42 journalists behind bars, as authorities kept up a campaign of anti-press intimidation that began after the country’s disputed presidential election more than two years ago,” the CPJ study noted.
The review suggested that Iran had “maintained a revolving cell door” since its rigged 2009 presidential election, “freeing some detainees on furloughs even as they make new arrests. “Journalists freed on furloughs often post six-figure bonds and endure severe political pressure to keep silent or turn on their colleagues.”
Following the assassination of another Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshani last Wednesday, a group of more than 230 opposition activists issued a statement condemning the attack, while at the same time accusing the country’s security agencies of being preoccupied with cracking down on dissent rather than ensuring the safety of Iranian citizens.
“Iran’s intelligence forces, which have directed all their efforts at suppressing domestic adversaries and stifling the voice of protesters and the media, have proven incapable of dealing with these [security] threats,” the activists said. “Regime officials, especially the Intelligence Minister, must be held accountable for the slackness shown in protecting the lives of Iranian experts and researchers.”