CJFE expresses serious concern over threats to Ray Choto in Zimbabwe

Wednesday, December 1, 1999

CJFE protests

His Excellency Hojjatoleslam val Mosleminn Sayed Mohammad Khatami
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, The Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: +98 21 64 66 415 December 1, 1999

Your Excellency,

We are writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, an independent organization that promotes free expression worldwide, to express our concern regarding the ongoing censorship of vital independent media in Iran. In 1999 alone, ten journalists have been jailed and eight have been taken in for questioning. We are particularly concerned about the three-year sentence against Machallah Chamsolvaezine, the editor-in-chief of Neshat, an independent daily which has been banned since September 1999. Chamsolvaezine was unjustly jailed for publishing articles opposing the death penalty in Iran. His arrest and the shutdown of his daily newspaper are deplorable acts clearly contravening the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which has been ratified by Iran. We have also received reports that three students who were charged recently with offending "the values of the Islamic Revolution" have been given suspended sentences. We are relieved that the students will not receive jail time for this unfair arrest We are also pleased that an edict was issued to protect the students from possible reprisals from citizens who had demanded the death penalty in this case. Yet, although your government has freed the students, their arrest reveals a clear disregard for free expression in Iran.

We urge that the three-year sentence imposed on Machallah Chamsolvaezine be repealed and his newspaper be allowed to publish freely. We hope also that your government will allow citizens the right to free expression. We simply request that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which your government has agreed to, be upheld. CJFE will be monitoring the situation in your country with great interest.

Sincerely,

Kristina Stockwood Coordinator

Chris Harbord
Program Assistant

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