UN rights envoy: Iran crackdown jeopardizes fair election

March 12, 2013 20:29

GENEVA - Iran's silencing of journalists and opposition leaders could jeopardize the legitimacy of the presidential election in June, a United Nations human rights investigator said on Tuesday.

Ahmed Shaheed, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, said that dozens of Iranian journalists were behind bars, including 17 arrested during one week in January and charged with communicating with foreign news outlets or rights groups.

"I am concerned that, with elections around the corner in June, this sort of accusations against journalists does not bode well for the prospect of a free and fair election in the country," Shaheed told a news briefing.

At least 10 lawyers are in custody, including Nasrin Sotoudeh, Abdolfattah Soltani and Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, for crimes including "spreading propaganda against the system through interviews with foreign media", he told the UN Human Rights Council during a two-day debate on Iran.

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