Monday, February 06, 2012

Dokouhaki and Rasouli still in prison; official silence continues

Three weeks after their arrest, and despite verbal promises to release them on bail, Parastoo Dokouhaki and Marzieh Rasouli are still in Evin prison.

Families of the two journalists are increasingly concerned as very little has emerged about their case and charges through official channels. Unofficially, though, it is almost certain that both Rasouli and Dokouhaki have been detained as part of a broader, premeditated scenario, and have been under immense pressure to make false confessions of working for the BBC.

Iranian officials have repeatedly declared the BBC a 'hostile' entity; and anyone working for its Persian service an 'agent' acting against national security.

Rasouli and Dokouhaki have never worked for BBC Persian in any capacity. A statement from the broadcaster confirmed this fact. While condemning systematic harassment of close relatives and families of its journalists (as a way of pressuring them), the Head of the BBC Persian service reiterated:

"The BBC has no employee or colleague, in any capacity, in Iran. Any confession to the contrary -- and under pressure from security forces -- is unfounded and void."

Parastoo Dokouhaki and Marzieh Rasouli were arrested in a similar fashion at their homes on (respectively) 15 and 17 January. To this date, all efforts by their family to visit them have been futile, yet both seem to have been less restricted to make contact with their families.

Rasouli last called her family two days ago, indicating she was out of solitary cell for the time-being. Dokouhaki has also called home to say she was in a double-cell with another inmate.

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