Saturday, 7 November 2009

Guardian: Danish journalism student 'arrested in Iran'

James Robinson

Iranian authorities are believed to be holding a Danish journalism student after he was arrested by the Iranian authorities as part of a crackdown on foreign reporters.

Niels Krogsgaard, 31, was reported missing on Wednesday after attending a rally organised by the Iranian Government to mark the 30th anniversary of the storming of the American embassy in Tehran.

The rally was hijacked by opposition supporters protesting about the results of the presidential election in June, won by the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Three Iranian journalists, Farhad Fooldi, Behnam Nikzad, and Nafiseh Zare Kohan are also believed to be in police custody.

Overseas media have been banned from covering street protests since the demonstrations over the disputed June presidential election.

The International Federation of Journalists said that it was "deeply concerned" Krogsgaard, who it said was preparing a media project for his graduation. The organisation claimed that witness reports said he was arrested by government security forces during the demonstrations.

"Niels was arrested on Wednesday. This information comes from our affiliates in Iran," said Ernest Sagaga, spokesman at the Brussels-based journalist association. "There were two demonstrations - one pro-government and another against, and our information is that he was arrested at the latter. We have not been able to establish where he is held,"

Fooldi was about to be appear live on French news channel France24 by phone when he was arrested, according to Thomas Adamson, an anchor at the station who was due to interview him. Fooldi works as a stringer for France 24. Adamson said France 24 had been unable to confirm whether Fooldi had been detained.

The Danish foreign ministry said it had contacted Iranian authorities about Krogsgaard. A Danish foreign ministry spokeswoman added the Danish embassy in Tehran was trying to find him.

She said: "The Danish Journalism Association has said that his name is on a list of detained people. Right now we are trying to get that information confirmed."

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