‘Iran `detaining` relatives of journalists’
London: The Iranian government has arrested
relatives of Persian-language journalists working abroad for
the BBC in a bid to silence them, the British broadcaster said on Friday.
BBC Director General Mark Thompson said the sister of a
BBC Persian journalist was arrested last week and held in
solitary confinement on unspecified charges at Evin Prison in
Tehran, before being released on bail.
"Her treatment was utterly deplorable and we condemn it in
the strongest terms," Thompson wrote in a blog, adding that it
was only the latest incident "in a campaign of bullying and
harassment by the Iranian authorities".
Human Rights Watch also raised concerns about the arrest,
with its Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson warning it
was "part of a wider campaign to harass Iranian journalists by
putting pressure on them and their families".
She said Tehran was sending a clear message "that the
government`s long arm of repression can extend well beyond
It is not the first time the BBC has complained about
Iranian harassment of its journalists but Thompson said the
past few months had seen "increased levels of intimidation
alongside disturbing new tactics".
"In recent months a number of relatives of members of BBC
Persian staff have been detained for short periods of time by
the Iranian authorities and urged to get their relatives in
London to either stop working for the BBC, or to `cooperate`
with Iranian intelligence officials," he said.
Relatives` passports had been confiscated, preventing them
leaving Iran, while BBC staff had been accused in the Iranian
media of offences such as sexual assault, drug trafficking and
converting from Islam to Christianity.
Thompson called on Tehran to repudiate the actions of its
officials and urged governments and international bodies to
help stop "this campaign of intimidation, persistent
censorship and a disturbing abuse of power".
"It is behaviour that all people who believe in free and
independent media should be deeply concerned about," the BBC
BBC Persian, based in London, is a multimedia news and
information service for Persian speakers in Iran, Afghanistan,
Tajikistan and around the world.
Iran has frequently accused the BBC of fuelling the unrest
that broke out following the disputed re-election of President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- 24 dead after boat carrying 40 capsizes in river Ganga in Patna; many still missing
- My father wanted me to be a man of character: Navjot Singh Siddhu
- Dr Subhash Chandra Show: What characteristics define a true leader?
- Tourists flock to Manali as snowfall takes a short break
- Is Akhilesh Yadav overlooking Muslims as Mulayam Singh alleged?
- Abhishek Bachchan reveals the moment when Aishwarya Rai said 'yes' to him
- India vs England, 1st ODI: As it happened...
- India vs England, Pune ODI: MS Dhoni still the boss; convinces Virat Kohli with spot on DRS call — WATCH
- India vs England, 1st ODI: Ravichandran Aswhin steals the show with huge six — WATCH
- Petrol price hiked by 42 paisa per litre, diesel by Rs 1.03 a litre