Islamic Republic internationalizes crackdown on dissent
Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns the practice of detaining the relatives of foreign-based netizens as hostages and harassing the families of journalists who work for foreign media. It also deplores the fact that around 10 bloggers and netizens have been arrested since 21 May in Tehran, Mashhad, Hamadan and other cities for "insulting Islam.”
Cyber-police in Hamadan said the editor of a social network page "insulting Islam and the Shiite imams” was tracked down and arrested on 25 June. Reporters Without Borders is not yet able to confirm the exact number and identity of all those who have been arrested on similar charges in the past few days.
Kalameh, a website that supports Iran’s reformists, reports: "The wave of arrests of netizens in Iran began at the end of May. Most of the victims are students. Intelligence officers are pressuring their families to say nothing and to not get in touch with the media.”
According to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, the Organized Crime Surveillance Centre, an agency created by the Revolutionary Guards, has played an active role in identifying and arresting the netizens. Those arrested are currently being held in Tehran’s Evin prison, where they have been placed in isolation cells in Section 240 (controlled by the Revolutionary Guards) or in Section 209 (controlled by the intelligence ministry). (...)