AFP: The Islamic republic on Sunday released an Iran-based Syrian journalist working for Dubai TV who was arrested during opposition protests last month, the Tehran prosecutor and a colleague said. TEHRAN (AFP) — The Islamic republic on Sunday released an Iran-based Syrian journalist working for Dubai TV who was arrested during opposition protests last month, the Tehran prosecutor and a colleague said.
"He is fine and happy to be reunited with his family," a colleague of Reza al-Basha, who declined to be identified, told AFP after talking to Basha by phone. "We are also very glad he has been freed."
Earlier on Sunday, the Fars news agency cited Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying Basha had been freed, but a colleague denied this.
Basha, 27, was detained on December 27 during opposition protests, according to his colleague. Iranian officials confirmed his detention two days later.
After his arrest, the United Arab Emirates journalists' association urged the International Federation of Journalists to "intervene to establish the fate" of Basha and "work for his release," in an open letter carried by the UAE's official WAM news agency.
The foreign press bureau in Iran's ministry of culture and Islamic guidance is responsible for issuing work permits to journalists working for foreign media.
In June, after mass protests broke out over hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial re-election, the foreign press bureau banned journalists working for foreign media from covering "illegal gatherings."
Opposition demonstrators also clashed with security forces during the Shiite mourning ceremonies of Ashura in Tehran on December 27, leading to the deaths of at least eight people and hundreds of arrests, according to police.