Sunday, August 15, 2004

Ir: Speaker: Majlis to strive for release of IRNA correspondent

CASCFEN.org: "Ir: Speaker: Majlis to strive for release of IRNA correspondent

Published: 15.08.2004
IRNA, Tehran, 14 Aug 2004 -- Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel said here on Saturday that Majlis would strive to secure release of IRNA reporter Mostafa Darban, who was arrested along with three other IRNA staff in Baghdad on Monday, August 9.

Haddad-Adel said Iranian MPs feel one of the sons of Iranian nation has been arrested, so they consider it as their duty to cooperate with all the organs, having a direct role in release of IRNA correspondent.

Speaking to IRNA on sidelines of the meeting of Iranian ambassadors and representatives abroad, Haddad-Adel said Majlis feels it as its duty to secure release of Darban as well as all those taken hostage in Iraq.

Haddad-Adel deplored the fact that the event had taken place on days close to the Journalist's Day.

Describing conditions in Iraq as "complicated", Haddad-Adel said anything in Iraq depends on public presence and fortunately the people have strong presence on the scene. He added that it is a positive sign, indicating a bright horizon is ahead for public sovereignty in Iraq. Meanwhile, Association of Iranian Journalists (AIJ) on Saturday deplored the arrest of IRNA reporter Mostafa Darban from his office in Baghdad.

Eye-witnesses said that policemen in Iraqi police uniforms arrested the IRNA reporter and several local staff of IRNA office in Baghdad on August 9.

In a statement, faxed to IRNA, the AIJ called on Iraqi government to give explanation on the matter and secure his immediate release.

The statement said that such actions of the Iraqi government has escalated insecurity for the reporters in the country. The AIJ also expressed concern about temporary banning of al-Jazeera TV from Iraq and called for resumption of the TV operation. "In the past week, three worrying events took place in Iraq indicative of a political resolve to stop the reporters from doing professional duty in the country. Temporary ban on al-Jazeera TV runs counter to the international conventions and the principles already advocated by Baghdad government," it said.

"The Iraqi government is expected to lift the temporary ban on al-Jazeera TV and respect the international public opinion," it added. "IRNA is a professional news agency which respects impartiality and accuracy of reporting in both domestic and international developments. IRNA`s presence in Iraq has been in the context of the brotherly and good neighborly relationship between Iranian and Iraqi nations," IRNA colleague in Tehran said.

"If IRNA reporter's arrest has been made for political considerations by certain segments of Iraqi government, they should know that IRNA reporters are independent by profession and do not regard any political considerations in doing their business." he said.

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