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Thursday, 12 June 2008 20:00 Reporters Without Borders Editorial Dept - Free Press

Iran: Reporters Without Borders condemns the government's continuing persecution of cyber-feminists - women who use online publications to defend their rights. Nine were arrested yesterday for organising a meeting in Tehran to commemorate a big demonstration they staged two years ago, on 12 June 2005. They were all released this morning.

"The authorities have tried yet again to intimidate women who are just demanding their rights," Reporters Without Borders said. "The way the government is hounding them, and keeping some of them under surveillance, is an indication of its fear of the scale of this movement."

Yesterday's meeting - to mark the second anniversary of the biggest feminist demonstration ever held in the capital - was banned in advance and security forces were stationed outside the auditorium where it was due to take place.

The nine women arrested included five online journalists: Jila Bani Yaghoub of the daily Sarmayeh and the Canon Zeman Irani ( website, Jelveh Javaheri of the Change for Equality ( website, who was already arrested at the end of 2007, Aida Saadat of the daily Etemad and Change for Equality, Farideh Ghayb of Canon Zeman Irani and Sara Loghmani of Canon Zeman Irani and Change for Equality. Their lawyer, Nasrine Satoudeh, was also arrested.

The police went to the home of Change for Equality editor Parvin Ardalan, who was given a two-year suspended prison sentence by a Tehran court on 2 May, but she was not there and they were unable to arrest her. The same morning, they also went to the home of Sussan Tahmassebi, who edits the English-language pages of Change for Equality.


Wednesday, 11 June 2008 20:00 Reporters Without Borders Editorial Dept - Free Press

France: Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at the announcement that Syrian President Bashar el-Assad will be accompanying President Nicolas Sarkozy on the official podium during the French national holiday celebrations in Paris on 14 July.

"Nicolas Sarkozy is breaking one commitment after another," the press freedom organisation said. "After welcoming Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi with open arms in Paris on 10 December, Human Rights Day, and singing the praises of the Tunisian regime in April, he is now going to celebrate 14 July, which is supposed to be in honour of independence and freedom, next to the president of one of the world's most repressive regimes.

"How far is Sarkozy ready to go to promote his Mediterranean Union project? What new concessions will he make to the Libyan leader to get him to support this project? When he was running for president, Sarkozy put human rights at the heart of his programme. He said that, with him as president, talks would be much firmer especially, as regards Russia and China. Today we are far, very far, from these commitments. President Sarkozy, like others before him, is pursing a realpolitik at the expense of the values France is
supposed to embody."

The Mediterranean Union project, which aims to reinforce the already existing cooperation between the Mediterranean countries and the European Union, will be officially created during a special summit in Paris on 13 July. Many Arab counties, including Lybia and Syria, have expressed misgivings about the project.


Monday, 09 June 2008 20:00 Reporters Without Borders Editorial Dept - Free Press

Afgahanistan - Reporters Without Borders today expressed deep sadness at the murder of Abdul Samad Rohani, 25, a journalist working for the Pashtu service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

The journalist's body was found near the city of Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, one day after he was kidnapped. The previous day, 7 June, a contributor to BBC radio and television was killed in Somalia.

Rohani disappeared after his vehicle was stopped by armed men in the suburbs of Lashkar Gah. His body was found with three bullet wounds the following day. A pathologist said the journalist appeared to have been tortured before he was killed.

"We offer our deepest condolences to the journalist's family and colleagues. Abdul Samad Rohani was typical of many contributors to the BBC who risk their lives to ensure the independence and pluralism of news in their countries. They cover fighting in the south of Afghanistan despite the risks and report on atrocities against civilians," the organisation said.



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