Iran: Jailed blogger’s wife and daughter reportedly kidnapped

Iranian blogger Mehdi Khazali’s wife and daughter have  allegedly been kidnapped by security forces and moved to an unknown location, it was reported yesterday. Khazali, a staunch critic of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s state policies, was sentenced to 13 years and 10 months in prison and 10 years in exile on 7 February for “insulting the supreme leader”. The blogger has been on hunger strike for 38 days.

Iran: Press crackdown continues as elections approach

Ten Iranian journalists were arrested in January as the government continued its crackdown on dissent ahead of March’s parliamentary elections. Recent reports identified three previously undisclosed arrests. Critical blogger Mehdi Khazali was arrested by security forces in Tehran on 9 January and charged with “insulting the supreme leader.” Authorities arrested Paris-based journalist Saeed Razavi Faghih on 17 January as he arrived at a Tehran airport; and on the same day security forces in Tabriz arrested Payman Pakmehr, founder of Tabriz news website, which covers the arrests of local activists, and charged him with “propagating against the regime.” Seven other journalists were also arrested last month.