Middle East

Head of Iranian daily jailed over Shia story

Saeed Pourazizi of daily Bahar held for publishing column on Shia Islam deemed offensive by officials, his wife says

Last Modified: 02 Nov 2013 20:46
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Bahar's Saeed Pourazizi was summoned to the prosecutor's office on Saturday [AP]

The head of a reformist newspaper in Iran has been jailed for publishing an article on Shia Islam deemed offensive by authorities, according to his wife.

Saeed Pourazizi of daily Bahar (spring), was summoned to the prosecutor's office on Saturday and was arrested and transferred to Evin prison, his wife Masoumeh Shahriari told Fars news agency.

She said the public prosecutor had "lodged a complaint" against Pourazizi, who was trying to negotiate being released on bail.

"We have not been informed about the amount of money needed for the bail," she said.

The newspaper was shut down after it published the article which, according to authorities, questioned Shia Islam's beliefs about the Prophet Muhammad's appointed successor.

Prior to the ban, the daily issued an apology note, saying publishing the article was an "unintentional mistake" and it had temporarily suspended activities to "ease the tensions".

Culture Minister Ali Janati said the article "forments religious conflicts" and that the daily had received earlier warnings.

Judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani said on earlier this week that his department will "act with determination against those who falsify the history and try to undermine the fundamentals of the regime".

Bahar and several other reformist dailies, notably Shargh, only resumed publication at the end of last year after a ban lasting several years.

It becomes the first newspaper to be banned since moderate Hassan Rouhani was elected president in June. He had pledged to work for more social freedom during his election campaign.

Several reformist journalists and political activists in the predominantly Shia country have been released since he took office.


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