Iranian authorities are continuing their crackdown on journalists. Rights organization estimate that over ninety journalists were arrested in Iran in connection with the mass protests that followed the death in police custody last September of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi have spent more than 300 days in prison after their arrests in September. Hamedi broke the news of Amini’s grave condition after she was detained by the so-called “morality police” for improperly wearing her hijab; Hamedi’s picture of Mahsa Amini’s grieving parents went viral. Mohammadi covered Amini’s funeral in Saqquez and reported on the thousands of people who attended.
For doing their jobs as journalists, the two women have been charged with propaganda against the system, acting against national security, and collaborating with the United States – charges which can bring the death penalty. After their recent trials were held behind closed doors, Hamedi and Mohammadi are awaiting word on the verdicts and sentences.
Iranian authorities are also re-arresting journalists who were detained during the protests but who later were released on bail or who were supposedly granted amnesty. Among them are Hossein Yazdi, director of the Iran Times news channel on Telegram, and free-lance journalist Nazila Maroufian.
Two other journalists, Saeedeh Shafiei and Nasim Soltanbeigi, first arrested during the protests and charged with “propaganda against the state” and “disturbing public opinion”, were recently sentenced to two years in prison and two years of social restrictions, including a ban on media activities and leaving the country.
State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller deplored “the Iranian regime’s continued crackdown on journalists for engaging in acts of journalism, oftentimes with baseless and completely discredited allegation[s].” The regime’s actions, he said, “remain a violation of their human rights, something the world continues to watch.”