Iran arrests four journalists; dozens deteriorating in prison
Committee to Protect Journalists

New York, December 7, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's arrest of four Iranian journalists at the daily Sharq. CPJ is also disturbed by recent news reports that indicate the abusive treatment endured by dozens of imprisoned Iranian prisoners has adversely affected the health of many of them--including Issa Saharkhiz, at left, a founding member of the now-defunct Association of Iranian ‎Journalists, who has reportedly undergone surgery for internal hemorrhaging at Rajaee Shahr Prison.
Sharq's offices were stormed twice by plainclothes forces today. During the first raid, officers beat several journalists and arrested Editor-in-Chief Ahmad Gholami, International Desk Editor Farzaneh Roostaei, and Political Desk Editor Kayvan Mehregan. Officers returned a second time and arrested Ali Khodabakhsh, the newspaper's managing director, according to multiple news and human rights websites. The U.S.-government funded Radio Farda quoted an unidentified journalist with Sharq as saying he thinks the paper was raided because of an upcoming issue on Student Day, which commemorates the 1953 day when Iranian students demonstrated against the U.S.-backed coup. Since then, it has become an occasion for Iranians to demonstrate against foreign interference and the government.

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