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WAN protests disappearances in Iran

(WAN/IFEX) - On 8 December 1998, WAN called on the Iranian government to
investigate the disappearance of two writers, the death of a third and to
overturn the conviction of a journalist who allegedly criticised the armed
forces and a special court.

**New case and updates to IFEX alerts of 7 December, 3 December and 27
November 1998**

In a letter to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, WAN expressed serious
concern over the disappearance since 3 December of the prominent poet and
essayist Mohammad Mokhtari.

"Mr Mokhtari was repeatedly questioned by a revolutionary court earlier this
year for trying to reactivate a professional association of Iranian writers.
His disappearance has been linked to elements in the establishment
attempting to suppress increasingly open challenges to Iranian authorities,"
said the letter, signed by WAN President Bengt Braun.

WAN also expressed concern over an Iranian newspaper report saying that
Pirouz Davani, a politician and editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Pirouz"
who disappeared at the end of August, had been "executed" on 28 November.
WAN also called for a full investigation into the death of translator and
writer Majid Sharif, 46, who left his home on 20 November and whose body was
recovered four days later.

"Mr Sharif, who wrote regularly for the newspaper 'Iran Farda', was a
supporter of a more modern approach to Islam," said the letter. "Earlier
this year he was repeatedly summoned to the Ministry of Information for
questioning. While his body bore no signs of violence, there are fears that
his death may be connected to his calls for a more modern Islam."

WAN also urged President Khatami to overturn a fine and a ban from writing
for a year imposed on journalist Ezzatollah Sahab. The journalist allegedly
criticised the armed forces and the court for clergymen in his magazine

"We believe it is the duty of the government to guarantee the safety of its
citizens in order to foster an environment in which citizens are freely able
to seek, receive and impart information," WAN said.

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