Iranian authorities arrest photojournalist covering Afghan refugee camps


An Iranian photojournalist for the state-run newspaper Shargh Daily was arrested by authorities while he was taking photos of camps housing Afghan refugees, according to reports by the Iranian semi-official news website Ensafnews and the U.S.-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Monday called on Iranian authorities to immediately release Majid Saeedi, drop any charges against him and let him work freely.

“Iranian authorities must free photojournalist Majid Saeedi immediately and unconditionally, and let him do his job documenting the lives of Afghan refugees in Iran,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour.

“Journalists must be able to cover such events of national and international interest without fear that they will be arbitrarily detained.”

Saeedi was arrested last August 25 by security forces in the city of Khoy, in West Azerbaijan province near the border with Turkey and remains in detention while no charges against him have been disclosed by the Iranian authorities.

Ensafnews reported that Saeedi “was arrested due to taking photos of forbidden border regions.” However, the journalist had permission from authorities to cover the refugee camps

Authorities also arrested a Shargh Daily reporter at the scene, and released the reporter a few hours later on bail, according to the HRANA report, which did not disclose the journalist’s name.

CPJ emailed Alireza Miryousefi, the head of the media office of Iran’s mission to the United Nations, for comment on Saeedi and the unnamed journalist, but did not receive any reply. CPJ also emailed Shargh Daily for comment, but did not receive any immediate response. (Source: CPJ)