The jailing of the Kordpour brothers shows that Iran's campaign against journalists is still going strong

According to the Committee for the Protection,  Iran is the second worst jailer of reporters

Share

It’s been over 100 days into Rouhadi’s Presidency in Iran, and two more Kurdish-Iranian journalists have been arrested and detained. Forty year old Khosro Kordpour was sentence to six years and his younger brother Masoud Kordpour to three and a half years.  Khosro is facing the additional special charge of “enmity against God” and “corruption on earth” – both of which hold the death penalty.  

Khosro Kordpour, Kurdish-Iranian journalist and director of Mokerian News Agency, was first arrested without charge in March by security officials in Iran’s Kurdistan Province in the northwest of the country.  The security officials confiscated his computer, some of his personal belongings and imprisoned him.  Two days later, they arrested his brother, also a journalist, Masoud Kordpour.  The brothers were taken to the Revolutionary Guards Detention Centre in Orumiyeh, where they were held for one month in solitary confinement, without access to family visits or their lawyers.  Khosro began a hunger strike two months later in protest.  In June, he was finally was transferred out of solitary confinement and officials allowed him to at last see his family. 

Amnesty International Iran researcher Drewery Dyke said,  “The authorities have cited vaguely-worded offences but in reality Khosro and Masoud seem to have been jailed just for their work as journalists, a disgraceful but not especially rare state of affairs on Iran. We’re calling for them to be released immediately if they were indeed jailed merely for what they wrote or said.”

Instead of being released, both brothers were transferred to Mahabad Central Prison in June, where charges were announced for first time.  The charges included,  “gathering and colluding against national security”,  “insulting the supreme leader”, “spreading propaganda against the system” and “spreading lies in order to disturb the public opinion”. 

It was believed that as soon as elections took place on 14 June, the relentless arrests of journalists would cease  and the brothers set free if the new candidate, Hassan Rouhani, was elected.  Rouhani repeatedly assured voters that “all the political prisoners should be released.” He also said on several occasions that he wanted a change “in favour of free speech and media freedom.” Such promises encouraged progressively-minded Iranians to give him their vote and make him the Islamic Republic’s seventh president.  It worked.  On August 3, Rouhani took Office.

A spike in journalist arrests had already commenced in Iran in the run up to the election. The Intelligence Ministry claimed that it had uncovered an anti-regime media network with numerous links outside the country. At the time, analysts believed that this was a move by the establishment to prevent any form of mass protest from gaining momentum in the lead up to the presidential elections in June.  Kasra Naji of the BBC Persian Service said, “It’s a way of warning other journalists in Iran to watch the red line of the authorities.”  Foreign journalists were strongly targeted, with 14 arrested in as little as three days.

Journalists who express views contrary to those of the authorities have long been persecuted in Iran. The recent intensification of those efforts have seen dozens summoned and questioned by the Intelligence Ministry and Revolutionary Guards. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one journalist said he was told: “Don’t believe in any revolution. It was an election controlled by the regime. You voted and now it is over. You are still under surveillance and control. No critical articles, not even ones about art or history. And no meetings.”

According to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), Iran is the second worst jailer of journalists after Syria. CPJ has assisted nine journalists from Iran go into exile in the past 12 months - double the number of the previous year. 

The Iranian Embassy was not able to comment on points raised in this article. 

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron has reiterated his pre-election promise to radically improve the NHS  

How can we save the NHS? Rediscover the stiff upper lip

Jeremy Laurance
 

Thanks to Harriet Harman, Labour is holding its own against the Tory legislative assault

Isabel Hardman
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada