Germany summons Iranian ambassador over jailed reporters

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Germany summoned the Iranian ambassador Monday over Tehran's refusal to allow two jailed journalists to see their families over the Christmas holidays, a spokesman said.

Foreign ministry spokesman Stefan Bredohl said the reporters' families had travelled to Iran to visit them in jail but that the trip had been in vain despite "several firm promises from the Iranian side".

"As such a visit has yet to take place, the Iranian ambassador was summoned to the foreign ministry and State Secretary (Wolf-Ruthart) Born very clearly expressed the German government's displeasure," he said.

Bredohl said the men's relatives were still in Iran but would return home soon.

Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle had on Sunday again called on the Iranian authorities to allow the two reporters to see their families.

An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman had said on December 7 that Iran was considering a request for the journalists to meet with their families.

German weekly Bild am Sonntag has said its two employees, who have not been named, travelled to Iran to investigate the case of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.

They were arrested on October 10 in Tabriz in northwest Iran together with Mohammadi-Ashtiani's son and the family's lawyer.

Iran says the two entered the country on tourist visas and failed to obtain accreditation from the authorities for journalistic work.

© 2010 AFP

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