03 Feb '12, 9pm
Iran 'detaining' relatives of journalists working abroad: HRW - Straits Times [email protected]_EN #IranElection
LONDON (AFP) - The Iranian government has intimidated and arrested relatives and friends of Persian-language journalists working abroad in a bid to silence them, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday. The rights group highlighted the case of a BBC reporter Iranian authorities 'arbitrarily detained and held as a hostage' for almost two weeks as Iran prepares to hold parliamentary elections on March 2. HRW said security forces raided the home of a BBC Persian service employee's relative in Teheran in mid-January, searched and confiscated their belongings, and took them to Evin prison. Within hours, a man claiming to be the relative's interrogator contacted the BBC employee in London, offering to free the family member in return for information about the BBC, the rights group said.