Iran BBC complaint: UN urges Tehran to stop harassing staff
A United Nations expert has urged Iran’s government to stop harassing BBC Persian staff and their families.
David Kaye, the special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, confirmed he had received a complaint from the BBC about their treatment.
It came after Iran initiated a criminal investigation into 150 BBC staff, former staff and contributors for “conspiracy against national security”.
A subsequent court order froze the assets of the 150 staff involved.
That means they cannot inherit family assets and prevents them and their families from selling property or cars.
BBC director general Tony Hall said Iran’s action was “an unprecedented collective punishment of journalists” and against fundamental human rights…
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the BBC said its BBC Persian staff and people associated with them had been subjected to a “sustained campaign of harassment and persecution” since the disputed 2009 presidential election, when the Iranian government accused foreign powers of interference. Examples it cited included:
• The sister of a journalist was held in Evin prison for 17 days and forced to plead with the journalist via Skype to stop working for the BBC or spy on colleagues
• Many elderly parents of BBC staff have been interrogated, including being questioned late at night
• BBC staff not being able to visit their dying parents for fear of imprisonment or being prevented from leaving Iran
“This is an unprecedented collective punishment of journalists who are simply doing their jobs. This is not just a campaign against BBC Persian staff but against fundamental human rights, and the BBC calls on the government of Iran to end this legal action immediately,” Lord Hall said.
“The BBC, on behalf of its staff, will use all available legal avenues to challenge this order and we call on the international community to use their own influence in Iran to persuade the authorities that this completely unacceptable treatment must end.”
Mr Kaye later told reporters in New York that he was aware of the BBC’s complaint and that he would discuss the allegations with Iranian officials.
“We urge the government of Iran to stop harassing the employees