FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) issued the following statement regarding recent arrests of Iranian tech bloggers:
“NIAC condemns the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp’s latest crackdown on writers and bloggers in Iran and calls on the Iranian government to release imprisoned writers and bloggers immediately.
“According to recent reports, the IRGC arrested sixteen writers and bloggers who they accused of acting against national security, including seven employees of the tech website Narenji.com: Ali Asghar Hormand, Abass Vahedi, Alireza Vaziri, Nassim Nikmehr, Malieh Nakehi, Mohammad Hossien Mossazadeh and Sara Sajad Pour. The accusations against these individuals appear to be completely unfounded and politically motivated.
“While the Iranian people continue to assert their human rights such as freedom of communication and access to information, some in the Iranian government seek to deny these basic rights. Iranians overwhelmingly turned out to the polls this year to elect President Hassan Rouhani based in part on a mandate to increase human rights, including online freedom and access to information. The actions by the IRGC run counter to the people’s desires.
“This is not the first time that authorities have cracked down on Iranian bloggers. In one notable case, blogger Sattar Beheshti was arrested last year and died while in detention. A Tehran court recently announced that it would not try the case as ‘involuntary homicide’ and has instead dismissed the matter.
“The recently detained individuals must be released immediately, and all political prisoners who remain in detention in Iran must be freed. The Iranian government is signatory to numerous international human rights treaties and continues to flout its obligations under both international law and domestic Iranian law. While President Rouhani’s government has taken modest steps towards improving human rights, including by releasing a number of prominent political prisoners, significant and systematic steps must be taken to begin to rectify Iran’s appalling human rights record.”