Sat, 21 Sep 2019

The Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) has called on Iranian authorities to release journalist Masud Kazemi and explain or drop the new charges he is facing.

'This is yet another clear example of mistreatment of journalists by the Iranian state and specifically the country's judiciary that consistently shows itself to be biased,' CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour said in a statement on May 22.

Kazemi, editor-in-chief of the monthly Sedaye Parsi magazine, arrived at a Tehran Revolutionary Guards court earlier that day to stand trial on anti-state propaganda charges, reports say.

At the hearing, the judge announced new charges against Kazemi, including acting against national security and colluding against national security, according to his lawyer, Ali Mojtahedzadeh.

The judge also set a bail of as much as 10 billion rials ($238,000 at official exchange rates), according to Kazemi's lawyer, Ali Mojtahedzadeh.

CPJ, a New York-based media freedom watchdog, quoted a person close to Kazemi as saying that the journalist is being detained at Tehran's Evin prison until his trial on the new charges because he is unable to pay the bail.

The date for the trial has not been set yet, the person said.

Security forces raided Kazemi's Tehran home in November 2018, detained him, and confiscated laptops and other materials, according to the U.S.-based Iranian Human Rights Activists News Agency and the journalist's fiancee, Shima Tadrisi.

The raid came after Kazemi posted tweets in which he alleged corruption in Iran's Industry Ministry, according to the news agency.

Eight journalists were found to be imprisoned in Iran in direct relation to their work at the time of CPJ's annual prison census on December 1, 2018.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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