October 18, 2004

US says 'gravely concerned' about Iranian arrest

US says 'gravely concerned' about Iranian arrest
8October 2004
Reuters News
(c) 2004 Reuters Limited

WASHINGTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - The United States said on Friday it is concerned Iran has arrested a journalist and stopped him picking up a rights award in New York in a sign of what it called worsening violations in the Islamic republic.

Emadeddin Baghi was due to receive next Monday a Civil Courage Award from the Northcote Parkinson Fund, which said he had previously been imprisoned for exposing the killings of intellectuals.

Baghi was arrested at Tehran airport and denied permission to leave the country, and will now apparently face charges of criticizing the government, State Department spokesman Gregg Sullivan said.

These actions "send a clear message regarding the Iranian government's views on freedom of speech and expression, and is yet another clear example of the overall deterioration in the human rights situation in Iran," he said.

Iran considers the United States the "Great Satan" and President George W. Bush bracketed the country with North Korea and prewar Iraq in an "axis of evil."

The United States frequently denounces alleged abuses in Iran to spotlight its human rights record.

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