Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:41 am (KSA) 08:41 am (GMT)

Iran frees Syrian journalist held during protests

An Iranian opposition supporter is seen next to a burning police motorcycle set on fire during clashes (File)
An Iranian opposition supporter is seen next to a burning police motorcycle set on fire during clashes (File)

Iran has freed a Syrian journalist working for Dubai television who was detained in Tehran two weeks ago, his employer Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI) said on Sunday.

Reda al-Basha, 27, the DMI's Tehran news correspondent for about one year, was not on assignment when he went missing near his home on Dec. 28, DMI Managing Director Ahmad Abdulla al-Shaikh said in a statement.

Earlier on Sunday, Tehran General Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi told the semi-official Fars News Agency the journalist had been freed.

Basha was arrested the day after eight people were killed in clashes between security forces and supporters of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi on Ashura, a day of ritual Shiite mourning.

It was the worst violence since that which accompanied protests immediately after the disputed presidential election in June.

Not released

 He has not been released from prison. He called his wife from Evin prison at 4:30 pm (0100 GMT) 
Colleague of Basha who requested anonymity

But a colleague of Basha who requested anonymity told AFP: "He has not been released from prison. He called his wife from Evin prison at 4:30 pm (0100 GMT)."

The conflicting accounts came a day after Dolatabadi was quoted in the Iranian media as saying that Basha would be released on Saturday.

In June, after mass protests broke out over hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial re-election, the foreign press bureau banned journalists working for foreign media from covering "illegal gatherings."

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