A spokesman for Iran’s judiciary announced that two jailed Iranian journalists, who covered events surrounding the death in police custody of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian Mahsa Amini, will be put on trial at the end of May. Amini’s death in September, after her arrest by the morality police for improperly wearing her hijab, triggered nationwide protests against the Iranian regime.
Niloufar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi have been held in two of Iran’s most notorious prisons since September 2022, after they helped break Amini’s story. Both are facing charges including propaganda against the system, acting against national security, and collaborating with the United States. They have reportedly not received adequate legal assistance.
At a press briefing, State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller denounced the indictments against Hamedi and Mohammadi. “We reject those charges,” he said. “They are obviously not true. And I will note that over the course of the protests, Iranian authorities have repeatedly violated Iranians’ human rights, punished them for executing their essential freedoms. This includes not just members of the Iranian public who have come forward to protest, but also journalists in the country.”
The State Department’s latest human rights report on Iran notes numerous and significant human rights abuses by Iranian authorities in 2022. Among them, “severe restrictions on freedom of expression, including violence, threats of violence, and unjustified arrests and prosecutions against journalists, censorship, and enforcement of criminal libel and slander laws; [and] serious restrictions on internet freedom.”
The State Department also reported the deaths of more than 500 people at the hands of Iranian security forces during the demonstrations following Mahsa Amini’s death, and the arrests of 19,000 protesters. In addition, the report noted that political dissidents and journalists were often charged with capital crimes, and that executions were carried out without due process.
“Sham trials and executions have been key components of the regime’s attempt to suppress any form of dissent,” said Spokesperson Miller. “We once again…call on Iranian authorities to stop their arbitrary detentions, stop their sham trials, and stop denying the Iranian people the fundamental freedoms that they deserve.”