"These closures mark the final blow in the campaign against
the reformist press in
executive director of the
division of Human Rights Watch. "The judiciary, which should protect basic rights like free expression, has again taken the lead in violating those rights."
The authorities moved against the two newspapers after they published excerpts from a letter circulated by over 100 members of parliament on February 17. The letter criticized Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for approving the Guardian Council's disqualification of more than 2,000 candidates from the upcoming parliamentary elections. The parliamentarians said that Khamenei himself was responsible for ensuring that the elections on Friday would not reflect the will of the people.
Chief Prosecutor Mortazavi has led a campaign to close down over 70
independent newspapers since April 2000, when he presided as a judge over the
Human Rights Watch has urged members of the U.N. Commission
on Human Rights to pass a
resolution at its annual session, which begins March 15, condemning the
deteriorating human rights situation in
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