Tehran blocks Iranian-French journalism student’s exit: group

An Iranian-French journalism student is being prevented from leaving Iran after spending a month in jail for interviewing opposition members, Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday.Mehrnoushe Solouki has been under de facto house arrest in Tehran since March when she was freed from Tehran’s Evin prison where she was interrogated and confined to a cell with a permanently-lit neon light, the group said.

Solouki, a doctoral student in Montreal, Canada, had obtained permission from Iranian authorities to produce a documentary film on the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq war, said Ajar Smouni, a spokeswoman for Reporters Without Borders.

But she was arrested on February 17 after interviewing family members of the opposition People’s Mujahedeen (MEK) who said they had been victims of repression, Smouni said.

Solouki, 38, who holds Iranian and French citizenship, was freed on March 19 after posting bail of 80,000 euros (107,000 dollars) and has since been under house arrest in Tehran.

Iranian authorities confiscated her notes and film footage and have since called her in for questioning, according to her lawyer in France, William Bourdon, who said they have threatened to jail her again unless she cooperates.

The lawyer said Solouki had been given her French passport back, but that authorities were refusing to let her leave.

“This is a very worrying situation,” said Bourdon, who has raised her plight with Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

The foreign ministry said it was in contact with Tehran about Solouki’s case, with spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei saying that “we obviously hope that the situation can be resolved and that she will be able to have full freedom of movement.”

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