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Parastoo Dokouhaki and Marzieh Rasouli Arrested in Continued Wave of Crackdown on Iranian Journalists

Friday 20 January 2012


Change for Equality: Parastoo Dokouhaki a women’s rights activist, journalist and researcher covering social issues and Marzieh Rasouli a journalist reporting on music and book publications were arrested on January 15 and 17 respectively.

According to reports, security agents stormed the home of Dokouhaki on Sunday January 15, 2012 and after searching the premises and confiscating her personal belongings such as her computer and her writings, they proceeded to arrest her. Court officials have yet to weigh on this arrest and as such the reason for Parastoo’s arrest as well as the charges brought against this women’s rights activist and journalist are unclear. According to family members Ms. Dokouhaki had limited her activities over the past two years to translations and cooperation with the Shariati Foundation and was not involved in any sort of political activities or journalistic activities.

According to these reports, following the death of her father a few months ago, Parastoo was suffering from serious depression and was under treatment for this condition. As such, she was on medication and seeing her doctor on a regular basis. Her arrest given her emotional state has worried not only family members but also her friends and colleagues in the women’s movement.

Parastoo Dokouhaki is a longtime women’s rights activist. She gained notoriety for writing for the now banned Zanan Monthly (Women) under the Editorial direction of seasoned journalist Shahla Sherkat and for starting one of the first blogs by women in Iran. Her blog “Zan Nevesht” or Women’s Writings dealt with not only personal matters but issues having to do with women in Iranian Society. Established in 2001, it filled a serious void on reporting on women’s issues at the time.

Also based on news reports journalist Marzieh Rasouli, was arrested on January 17, at her home. According to reports, security agents arrested Rasouli after searching her home and seizing her personal property. Security agents presented Rasouli with an arrest order in which the charge against her was stated as “acting against national security.” Security agents told the family that they were transferring Ms. Rasouli to Evin prison. Ms. Rasouli is a journalist covering music and publishing and has experience working in reformist dailies such as Shargh and Etemad.

The arrest of these two female journalists comes on the heels of the arrest of Fatemeh Kheradmand another female journalist, who was arrested on January 8. The arrest of these women comes during a renewed crackdown targeting journalists ahead of the Parliamentary elections which are scheduled to take place in 6 weeks. Some of the other journalists arrested in this crackdown include: Sahameddin Borghani (arrested on January 17, Payman Houshmand Zadeh arrested on Januray 7), and Saeed Madani (arrested on January 7).

It should be noted that besides being a journalist and political activist (National Religious Front Party), Saeed Madani was a sociologist, who researched social problems. Much of his work was focused on vulnerable women and his research had contributed greatly to knowledge about women and social problems in Iran.

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