Amid reports on the arrest of several Iranian journalists, Christoph Strässer, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (16 November):
The reports concerning the recent arrest of several journalists fill me with deep concern.
By ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran has committed to respecting and protecting the right to freedom of expression.
Particularly now in the run-up to the elections to Parliament and the Assembly of Experts, Iran must do so! Free and fair elections can only take place in an environment where all can voice their opinion freely and without fear.
I therefore call upon Iran to release the journalists immediately and enable them to report freely without suffering intimidation of any kind.
Since September, Iranian media have been reporting on a spy network which they believe is attempting to infiltrate media and politics in Iran. Recently several Iranian journalists have been arrested based on unclear allegations. Those detained include Isa Saharkhiz, Ehzan Mazandarani, Afarine Chitsaz and Saman Safarzani.