110,000 Iranians Sign Petition to Free Journalists
A petition signed by 110,00 people, mostly students, calling for the release of jailed journalists, has been presented to the Iranian judiciary, an Islamic student association in Tehran told AFP Monday.
The petition was submitted late Sunday to the head of the country's court system, Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi, according to a representative of the association of Tehran University's faculty of literature and humanities.
It also calls for a "neutral court" to handle the case of more than a dozen dailies and five other reformist publications that have been suspended, rather than the press court where the newspaper chiefs involved are due to appear Wednesday.
The petition charged that "many press leaders are children of the revolution, cultivated and erudite people, who have been imprisoned for their liberal ideas through vengeance."
In a few weeks, four well-known journalists, Akbar Ganji, Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, Latif Safari and Emadeddin Baghi, have been jailed in Evin prison, notably after publishing revelations on the "serial murders" of dissidents in November 1998.
Lawyer Mehranghiz Kar and publisher Shahla Lahiji were arrested in April for taking part in a Berlin conference adjudged anti-Islamic, then were freed last week.
Another editor, Ali-Reza Khallagh, who was accused of criticizing the supremacy of the country's top leader, Ali Khamenei, was arrested Thursday then released a few days later.
Among others serving jail terms is former interior minister Abdollah Nuri, imprisoned last year by a clerical court for offences relating to the contents of his newspaper Khordad, which was also banned – TEHRAN (AFP)
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