In a letter to journalists’ unions and their support groups the Tehran public prosecutor said the journalists’ call for a protest in the Palace of Justice is illegal and should be called off. The gathering was intended to express public dismay over the recent arrests of the press and internet journalists and the web-site writers. A week ago the Journalists’ Professional Society, one of the reformist unions of journalists, called on journalists and the families of those journalists in prison to assemble in the Palace of Justice in protest of the imprisonment of all journalists. Last night following the release of a number of internet journalists, this protest action was called off. But the JPS, in turn, issued a statement calling the public prosecutors order illegal. In an interview with Radio Farda Mashalah Shamsolvaezin, one of the members of the JPS board of management and the spokesman for the Society for the Defence of Freedom of Speech, said calling off the protest was not in response to the prosecutor’s letter. His letter reached the JPS three hours after the protest was called off voluntarily. It was an independent decision, unrelated to the threat from the judiciary. He told Farda that JPS will have a press conference on Monday when it will defend its legal rights to free assembly and peaceful protest. He reiterated that their call to protest was within the legal framework and disbanding it would be an unlawful act. Shamsolvaezin told Farda that, according to information they have and following interviews with the newly freed prisoners, they can say with confidence that Tehran’s prosecutor has, under torture and pressure, forced the imprisoned journalists to write letters of remorse contrary to their wishes. He said these sorts of letters or confessions taken under duress are of no value. The public is well aware of this and the authorities only make fools of themselves by employing such old and discredited methods.