Yeganeh Salehi spent more than two months in detention without being given any official reason. Her husband, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, remains in custody.
Name: Yeganeh Salehi
Occupation: Journalist; reporter for The National, a United Arab Emirates newspaper.
Yeganeh Salehi, 30, a reporter for the UAE-based newspaper The National was arrested with her husband, Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, and their two guests at the time, an Iranian-American photojournalist and her husband, on July 22, 2014 at their Tehran home. Security forces searched their house and took them to an unknown location where they were permitted one phone call to their families a day after they were detained. Salehi was released in early October but Rezaian remains in prison.
On July 28, several days after their arrest, one of the guests arrested at the same time of Salehi and Rezaian’s arrest, the husband of the photojournalist, was released on bail without being charged. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported that he was “in a very poor psychological state” and had isolated himself from people since his release. “Over the past few days”, the organization wrote, “the photographer also contacted her family; she was reported to be in considerable distress and gave no information about who had arrested her, where she was being held or the charges against her.” On August 20, the photojournalist was also released on bail.
None of the arrests were recorded with the judiciary or the prosecutor’s office and on July 25, Iran’s Prosecutor General, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, told reporters he was never notified about the detentions.
While the authorities have remained silent on the arrests, hardline media in the country have made a number of accusations against the four people detained, including accusing them of spying and taking part in the making of the “Happy” video clip in spring 2014. Seven Iranians were arrested following the video’s release on YouTube.
Yeganeh Salehi, an Iranian national, requested permanent residency in the US on the basis of her husband having dual nationality. A month after the arrests, her parents issued a statement saying “Yeganeh and Jason love Iran and have always tried to portray it realistically in their reports.”
It is widely thought the couple’s arrest has more to do with internal political battles in Iran than it does with their work as journalists. “Since Mr. Rouhani’s election in June 2013, elements of the Iranian intelligence services, the judiciary and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards have sought to undermine him and his agenda of pragmatism and reform. For the sake of his credibility abroad, as much as for the cause of justice, he needs to speak out on the behalf of these journalists and on behalf of the many others who have been unjustly incarcerated,” wrote The Iran Project on August 4. “Hardliners are especially angry about President Rouhani’s attempt to reintegrate Iran into the international community. They disapprove of concessions they say the president is ready to make in the current negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program; confronting the West, they assume, is the way Iran can achieve regional importance. By contrast, Mr. Rouhani and his team believe that cooperating with the West is more likely to get Iran the respect it craves.”
For more information, visit Journalism is Not a Crime, documenting cases of jailed journalists in Iran.
This is part of IranWire’s series Crime: Journalism, a portfolio on the legal and political persecution of Iranian journalists and bloggers, published in both Persian and English.
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