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Iran Pro-Reform Journalist Arrested

January 29, 2001

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ A hard-line Iranian court has ordered the detention of a pro-reform journalist after a brief interrogation on undisclosed charges, a colleague said Monday.

Hoda Saber, 40, an editor with the now banned reformist magazine Iran-e-Farda, was interrogated and detained Sunday on the orders of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, Taqi Rahmani, a political activist and opposition journalist told The Associated Press.

``Saber was summoned to the court and the judge ordered his arrest after interrogating him on Sunday. We do not know what the charge is and his family do not know where he is being held,″ Rahmani said.

Rahmani, a close friend of Saber’s who worked with him on the biweekly Iran-e-Farda, said Saber’s relatives went to Tehran’s Evin prison Sunday to look for him, but were told he was not there.

Iran-e-Farda is one of 32 publications _ all but one of them pro-reform _ that have been banned since a media crackdown was launched by the hard-line judiciary in April.

Its director, leading dissident Ezatollah Sahabi, has been imprisoned since Dec. 17 on charges of insulting Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, in a public address to students.

Most of the two dozen reformist writers and activists currently behind bars in Iran were jailed without trial or after brief no-jury trials. Detention of activists without trial is a common practice by the hard-line judiciary.

Also on Sunday, a court detained Naqi Afshari _ the journalist father of student leader Ali Afshari held in custody _ after a brief interrogation and ordered his pro-reform weekly newspaper closed.

Naqi was freed Monday on a bail of $2,500, according to his brother, Mohsen Afshari.

Mohsen Afshari told Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency that his brother will stand trial in the coming few months and that his newspaper, Hadis-e-Qazvin, would not be allowed to resume publication before then.

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