Iranian Journalists Sentenced to Prison for Exposing Controversial Case of Mahsa Amini
By [Your Name]
An Iranian court has decided the fate of journalists Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, who played a crucial role in uncovering the case of Mahsa Amini. The court sentenced Hamedi and Mohammadi to 13 and 12 years in prison, respectively, on charges of cooperating with the hostile United States Government, as well as two other crimes.
Hamedi, a journalist for the reformist Shargh newspaper, was the first to report on Amini’s arrest for not wearing the Islamic veil, and her subsequent death on September 16, 2022. Mohammadi, on the other hand, covered the funeral of the 22-year-old girl, which marked the beginning of the protests that shook the nation for months.
According to the Mizan agency of the Judiciary, Hamedi has been sentenced to seven years in prison for cooperation with the United States, while Mohammadi received a six-year sentence for the same charge. Additionally, both journalists have been sentenced to five more years for collusion against national security, and one year for disseminating propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The court has ruled that Hamedi and Mohammadi must serve the longest sentences, seven years for Hamedi and six years for Mohammadi, as reported by Mizan. Moreover, as part of their punishment, they are prohibited from working for the media, joining political parties, and using social networks for a period of two years.
The convicted journalists have a 20-day window to appeal the court’s decision to a higher court. Since their arrest in September, Hamedi and Mohammadi have endured significant periods of solitary confinement, according to their families.
The trials against the two journalists began in May, conducted behind closed doors, and they were only allowed to meet with their lawyers one day before the proceedings. Hamedi had published a photo of Amini in the hospital while she was in a coma and intubated. He later shared an image of the grieving parents embracing in the hospital hallway upon learning of their daughter’s tragic death.
Mohammadi, meanwhile, covered Amini’s funeral in Saqez, Kurdistan, where protests erupted, and the first scarves were burned on September 17.
The Committee to Protect Journalists reveals that nearly one hundred journalists and photographers were detained for carrying out their work during the mobilizations in Iran. However, eighty journalists have been released on bail.
Mahsa Amini’s death sparked widespread protests that demanded an end to the Islamic Republic, protests that were met with a brutal repression effort. The government’s response resulted in 500 deaths, the arrest of at least 22,000 individuals, and the execution of seven protesters, one of which occurred publicly.
The first anniversary of Amini’s death was recently commemorated on September 16, with heavy repression and a substantial deployment of security forces. As a result, only minor protests took place.
In recent months, the Iranian regime has sought to reintroduce the use of the veil, employing patrols on the streets, denying services, and passing legislation that imposes harsher punishments for failing to cover one’s hair.
The sentencing of these journalists highlights the continued suppression of press freedom in Iran and raises concerns about the government’s handling of dissenting voices and its commitment to transparency.