#Human Rights
UN, Ban ki-Moon, OHCHR, Nav Pillay, Ahmed Shaheed, EU, European Parliament, State Department, HRW

An Iranian journalist has been sentenced to 50 lashes and two years in prison over charges of spreading anti-government propaganda in the latest incident of Iran's crackdown on the independent media.

Marzieh Rasouli reported to Evin prison in Tehran on Tuesday, where she became the latest of dozens of journalists imprisoned by the Islamic republic, which has been branded as one of the world's worst jailer of journalists by the New York Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Her arrest followed the detention in recent months of a number of other Iranian journalists, including Saba Azarpeik, who was being held incommunicado, and Reyhaneh Tabatabaei.

The young female journalist was jailed to endure her conviction on charges of "spreading propaganda" against the ruling system and "disturbing the public order", the Guardian has understood. On the previous day, Rasouli had also announced on her Twitter account that she had been informed of her sentence and was expected to go to jail.

Rasouli, a well-known writer on the arts and culture for a number of reformists newspapers including Shargh and Etemaad, was initially arrested in January 2012 as the authorities launched a crackdown before the parliamentary elections at the time. She was later released after posting a large bail with the prison authorities.

According to the Reporters Without Borders, Rasouli and at least two other Iranian journalists, Parastoo Dokouhaki and Sahamoldin Borghani, were accused by hardliners of collaborating with the BBC, which Iran conservatives see as a tool of British espionage.

Rasouli has previously edited the music pages of Shargh Daily, a leading reformist newspaper which has been closed down repeatedly in recent years. She has also worked for the reformist newspapers Etemaad and Roozegar.

CPJ's Jason Stern told the Guardian he was shocked by Rasouli's imprisonment.

"The sad truth is the imprisonment of journalists by the dozens has become normal for Iran ever since the government launched an unprecedented crackdown on the press after the 2009 elections," he said.

"That crackdown has not slowed in the past year, with CPJ documenting a series of arrests and prosecutions of journalists. Now Iran is on track to reclaim the title of the world's worst jailer of journalists this year."

WHEREAS: Iranian journalist Marzieh Rasouli has been sentenced and imprisoned solely for the peaceful pursuit of her journalist profession in clear violation of Articles 18 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (to which Iran is a signatory) as well as Article 24 of the Iranian Constitution;

AND WHEREAS: The sentence of 50 lashes is a cruel and grotesque form of torture and thus it is also a flagrant violation of Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

THEREFORE: We, the undersigned, demand that the international community at all levels recognize Marzieh Rasouli as a prisoner of conscience, and condemn her imprisonment and inhumane sentencing for the flagrantly ILLEGAL violations of Iran's human rights obligations that they are.

We further demand that the international community bring all possible pressure to bear upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to IMMEDIATELY and UNCONDTIONALLY release Marzieh Rasouli, reverse the illegal sentence imposed upon her, and drop all the (equally illegal) charges brought against her.

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The Free Iranian Journalist Marzieh Rasouli, Sentenced to Two Years and 50 Lashes petition to UN, Ban ki-Moon, OHCHR, Nav Pillay, Ahmed Shaheed, EU, European Parliament, State Department, HRW was written by John S. Burke and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.