(Beirut) – An Iranian court convicted three journalists and a family member of another journalist on April 25, 2016 on vague national security charges. The four, along with a fifth journalist, have been detained since November, 2015. The authorities should quash their convictions and release them.
The revolutionary court sentenced the journalists, Afarin Chitsaz, Ehsan Mazandarani, and Saman Safarzaei, to terms of ten, seven, and five years respectively, and Davoud Assadi, the brother of Houshang Assadi, a journalist who lives in France, to five years. The trial of the fourth journalist, Isa Saharkhiz, who is hospitalized, was postponed. The five appear to have been prosecuted on overly broad charges that are inconsistent with human rights law, including charges of insulting the Supreme Leader, Human Rights Watch said.
“It seems these journalists have done nothing other than exercise their right to free speech,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director. “Iran should vacate these apparently unfair convictions and stop targeting journalists and others with these overly broad and vague national security charges.”