Iran court sentences two journalists who reported on Mahsa Amini protests to prison News
© WikiMedia Commons (VOA)
Iran court sentences two journalists who reported on Mahsa Amini protests to prison

The Tehran Revolutionary Court in Iran sentenced two female journalists who covered the Mahsa Amini protests in 2022 to prison Sunday, according to Mizan News Agency, the judiciary’s media agency. The journalists, Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, were charged with collaboration with the US government as well as acting against national security.

Mohammadi received six years imprisonment, while Hamedi received seven years, both on charges of collaborating with the US administration, colluding to commit crimes against national security and propagating against the Islamic Republic. Under three articles of the Islamic Penal Code of 2013, both journalists are also banned from being members of political parties, or from taking part in activities in media outlets or newspapers. Both verdicts can be appealed.

Human rights advocated, like the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), condemned the convictions, with Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator saying, “The convictions of Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi are a travesty and serve as a stark testament to the erosion of freedom of speech and the desperate attempts of the Iranian government to criminalize journalism.”

Mahsa Amini was arrested in Tehran, Iran, for wearing an “improper” hijab and subsequently died over a year ago. Her death caused widespread protests across Iran, with many demonstrators arrested and executed as a result. Hamedi and Mohammadi were journalists reporting on the events unfolding in Iran at the time, and were detained as a result of their coverage. Hamedi was arrested after photographing Amini’s parents in a Tehran hospital, while Mohammadi was arrested for reporting on Amini’s funeral in her Kurdish town, Saqez.

Iranian authorities have arrested a total of 95 journalists since the start of the nationwide protests over Amini’s death. Of the 95 arrested, 72 have been released on bail. Other human rights groups, like Iran Human Rights (IHR) and Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM), have reported that over 500 people have been killed in connection to the protests, with many more at risk of execution for their involvement.