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Monday, 28 September, 2020

Arrest, arraignment and release of Kowsar Karimi, journalist of Mehr News Agency

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Human Rights in Iran – Saturday, August 29, 2020 / Kowsar Karimi, a journalist working for Mehr News Agency, who had reported the demolition of residential homes in the village of Abolfazl in Khuzestan Province, was arrested and released on bail after being informed of her accusation.

According to Human Rights in Iran, quoting the International Federation of Journalists, today, Saturday, August 29, 2020, Ali-Reza Sharifi, a journalist residing in Khuzestan Province reported the arrest of Kowsar Karimi, a reporter for Mehr News Agency, and went on to say that Kowsar Karimi was the first journalist to cover the destruction of houses in Abolfazl village.

According to the report, Kowsar Karimi, after being arrested and transferred to the Prosecutor’s Office and undergoing interrogation was accused of propaganda activities against the regime, and was finally released on bail until the end of the trial.

The news of Kowsar Karimi’s release was published by Yasser Jalali, one of the officials of the Islamic Development Organization, according to which Yasser Jalali announced on his Twitter page: “Mehr [News Agency] reporter was released on bail.”

Yasser Jalali also announced in his tweet: “One of the officials also threatened that if Mehr News Agency continues to follow up (news of house demolition), they will order the summoning of the [Mehr] News Agency’s managing director.”

In recent days, clashes between Ahvaz police and Law Enforcement officers and residents of Abolfazl village have been widely reported in the media and cyberspace. This village is located in the west of Ahvaz, next to Zartosht alley, and Bonyad-e Mostazafan (the Foundation of Oppressed and Disabled) claims its ownership.

The problems of Abolfazl village have caused many reactions. According to civilians, residents have lived in the village for more than 30 years, but the Bonyad-e Mostazafan (Foundation of the Oppressed and Disabled) has accused them of illegally seizing land. IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency) wrote that the images of the villagers clashing with the officers and injuring a number of villagers with plastic bullets (pellets) were widely reflected in cyberspace.

The crackdown on journalists and media activists violates Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted on December 16, 1966, which emphasizes the right of individuals to express their views without cross-border restrictions.

Article 5 of the Criminal Procedure Code stipulates that the accused shall be informed of the charges and provided access to a lawyer as soon as possible. Other defensive rights are mentioned in law, but extrajudicial actions taken by the security services violate the laws that they themselves drafted and claim to be enforced.

Also the individuals have the right to access a fair trial by an impartial tribunal, as enshrined in international human rights instruments, as well as Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 14 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

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