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UN experts denounce Iranian ‘threats’ against BBC staff

March 12, 2020 01:36 AM


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Four United Nations experts on Wednesday called out Tehran for allegedly intimidating BBC and other broadcast journalists and their families with death threats.

Voicing their “alarm” in a joint statement, the special rapporteurs—independent experts who do not speak for the UN but report their findings to it—urged the Iranian authorities to stop threatening reporters.

“Journalists working for the BBC Persian Service and other Farsi-language news outlets outside Iran have faced threats, criminal investigations, unlawful surveillance, freezing of assets, defamation and harassment by Iranian authorities,” they said.

“Several journalists have also been targeted for going public about the harassment and seeking protection from the UN.”

In a statement, the British Broadcasting Corporation said there had been a “recent escalation in harassment” of BBC Persian staff and their families, coinciding with a crackdown on dissent within Iran.

It claimed “express threats” had been made “by state officials” towards the safety of BBC Persian journalists outside Iran.

The BBC statement said that Rana Rahimpour, a BBC Persian journalist, had recounted receiving a message threatening that she, her husband and their children would be assassinated within a month, while there were also threats towards her elderly parents based in Iran.

The UN special rapporteurs warned Tehran that such actions could violate Iran’s human rights obligations under international law.

They urged the Iranian government to “cease the intimidation, harassment and threats, including death threats, against BBC and other journalists working outside Iran for Farsi-language news outlets, as well as reprisals against their family members in Iran”.

The four special rapporteurs were Agnes Callamard (extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions); Javaid Rehman (human rights in Iran); David Kaye (promoting and protecting the right to freedom of opinion and expression) and Michel Forst (human rights defenders).



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