AFP: The United States on Monday condemned Iran’s decision to sentence in her absence a US-Iranian journalist to one year in prison, and demanded Tehran drop the charges against her. WASHINGTON (AFP) The United States on Monday condemned Iran’s decision to sentence in her absence a US-Iranian journalist to one year in prison, and demanded Tehran drop the charges against her.
“We condemn Iran’s baseless conviction and sentencing in absentia of Radio Farda correspondent Parnaz Azima to one year in prison for ‘spreading anti-state propaganda,'” US State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said.
Azima, who works for the Persian-language service of Radio-Free Europe/Radio Liberty, was “sentenced to a year in prison for propaganda against the regime,” her lawyer told the ISNA news agency in Tehran.
Radio Farda, or Radio Liberty, is considered a “counter-revolutionary radio” by the Iranian authorities. Together with Radio Free Europe, it is financed by the US government and based in Prague.
“Iran’s security services prevented Ms Azima from leaving Iran for almost eight months in 2007,” Casey said in a statement.
“The latest action by Iran, which forces her to ‘choose’ between returning to Iran to serve the sentence or forfeiting the deed to her 95-year-old mother’s home in Tehran, which was used to secure her bail, is a gross miscarriage of justice,” he added.
“Ms Azima’s sentencing is part of the Iranian regime’s continued crackdown on independent media,” the statement said.
“An increasing number of Iranian editors, journalists, and bloggers have been harassed, arrested and convicted for exercising their universal right to freedom of expression and assembly, most recently those from the women’s journal Zanaan,” his statement said.
“We urge the Iranian regime to drop the charges against Ms Azima and to adhere to its international obligations and commitments by ending its abusive treatment of journalists and respecting freedom of the press,” he added.