Iran : Heavy jail terms for journalists amid new arrests

Thirty-three journalists are still in detention in Iran after being arrested since the outbreak of the national protests following the death of Mahsa Amini on 16 September 2022. Some have received heavy jail terms, including one journalist jailed for up to 18 years. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges the Iranian authorities to free all journalists and media workers imprisoned and restore the free flow of information in the country.

IRNA News Agency/AFP

In the past two weeks, several Iranian journalists have received the harshest jail sentences since the beginning of the protests. The sentences range from 1 year up to 18 years in prison. The longest term of 18 years was handed to sports journalist Ehsan Pirbornash, for allegedly “inciting people to war and bloodshed”, “insulting the sanctities”, “computer crimes” and “propaganda against the regime”. 

Four women journalists, Nasim Soltan Beigi, Melika Hashemi, Mehrnoush Zarei and Saeedeh Shafiei were also arrested in the past 2 weeks, bringing the total number of journalists still detained in Iranian prisons to 33. Nasim Soltan Beigi was arrested on 12 January and is currently being held in a solitary cell. Melika Hashemi, Mehrnoush Zarei and Saeedeh Shafiei were arrested in the span of two days on 21 and 22 January and are currently detained in Evin prison in Tehran

The IFJ has welcomed the release on bail of eight journalists bringing the total number of journalists released to date to 43.

Ongoing national protests and the wave of arrests and repression started in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22 year-old woman who was arrested in Tehran by the Morality Police for wearing her hijab incorrectly and died while in the custody of the Iranian authorities on September 16.

These arrests and sentences come in the extremely worrying context of the first executions of protesters since the beginning of the movement, with four men hanged in the last month and fifteen others sentenced to death. 

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “We are extremely concerned about the fate of our colleagues in jail and the authorities' relentless attempts to tighten their grip on media and journalists. We demand all journalists’ immediate release and urge the Iranian leaders to establish real conditions for democracy in the country.”

 

Journalists in jail since the start of the protests 

1- Mrs Nilofar Hamedi, a journalist and reporter at Shargh newspaper, was arrested at her home in Tehran on 22 September 2022.

2- Mrs Elahe Mohammadi, a journalist and reporter at Hammihan newspaper, was arrested on 23 September at her home in Tehran.

3- Kamyar Fakour, a Khabaronline journalist, was arrested on 6 November.

4- Mr Masoud Kordpur, editor-in-chief at Mukrian news agency, was arrested on 22 September on the street of Bukan city.

5- Mr Alireza Jabari Darestani, Journalist at Mehr news agency, was arrested on 25 September in Tehran.

6- Mr Iman Beh Pasand, a freelance journalist, was arrested on 22 September at his home in Tehran.

7- Mrs Vida Rabani, a freelance journalist at Shargh newspaper, was arrested on 24 September at her home in Tehran.

8- Mrs Maliheh Daraki, a freelance photojournalist in Shiraz city, was arrested on 26 October while covering a protest in Abadan city.

9 - Mr Arya Jafari, a photojournalist at the ISNA news agency in the Isfahan branch, was arrested on 25 September.

10- Fahimeh Nazari, a journalist at Entekhab news website, was arrested on 13 November in her workplace in Tehran.

11- Mrs Nasrin Hassani, a journalist at Etefaghieh magazine, was arrested on 30 September in Bojnourd city.

12- Mr Ehsan Pirbarnash, a freelance sports journalist and Humor columnist, was arrested on 27 October in Tehran.

13- Mrs Farzaneh Yahya Abadi, a local freelance journalist in Abadan city, was arrested at her workplace on 19 October.

14- Mrs Farkhondeh Ashoori, a Freelance journalist and former reporter at Fars news agency, was arrested on 17 October in Shiraz city.

15- Mr Hashem Moazen Zadeh, a freelance journalist, was arrested on 23 September in Tehran.

16- Mrs Mandana Sadeghi, a local freelance journalist in Abadan city, was arrested with her husband on 19 October in Abadan.

17- Mr Sajad Rahmani, a local freelance journalist in Gilan province, was arrested on 29 November.

18- Mr Milad Bidarigh, a local journalist in Gilan province, time of his arrested unknown.

19- Mr Omid Hormozi, a sports journalist, was arrested on November 5.

20- Mrs Ziba Omidifar, a journalist at Kurdpress, she was arrested on 8 December.

21- Mr Esmaeil Khesri, a local journalist in Kurdistan province, he was arrested in Urumieh city on 12 November.

22- Mrs Maral Dar Afarin, a local journalist in Gilan province, was arrested on the first of November.

23- Mr Payam Khodabandelou, a freelance journalist, was arrested on September 21 in Hamedan city.

24- Mr Mehdi Ghadimi, a freelance journalist, was arrested on 1 January 2023.

25- Mrs Nasim Sultan Beigi, a freelance journalist, was arrested on 12 January at Tehran international airport.

26- Mrs Melika Hashemi, a freelance journalist, was arrested on 21 January after being summoned to court.

27- Mrs Mehrnoush Zarei, a freelance journalist, was arrested on 22 January at her home.

28- Mrs Saeedeh Shafiei, a freelance journalist, was arrested on 22 January at her home in Tehran.

 

Journalists that were in jail before the start of the protests

29- Mr Keyvan Samimi, veteran journalist and editor-in-chief of Iran Farda magazine, has been in jail since 22 November 2021 for his two-year sentence.

30- Mr Khosro Sadeghi Borojeni, a freelance journalist who was detained on 22 July 2020, is serving a five-year jail term.

31- Mr Morteza Haghbaian, a freelance journalist who was arrested on 19 May 2022, has been sentenced to a two-year and six months jail sentence.

32- Mrs Alie Motalebzadeh, a freelance journalist arrested on 12 April 2022,  has been sentenced to three years in prison.

33- Mr Amirabbas Azarmzand, a journalist at Samt, Shargh and Jahan e Sanaat newspaper, is serving a three-year and seven months jail sentence he received last year.

 

Journalists were arrested during the protest but released afterwards

1- Mr Khosro Kordpur, a journalist at Mukrian news agency, was arrested on 20 September and released after one week.

2- Mrs Batool Balali, a Kerman Farda news website journalist, was arrested on 22 September and released on bail on 1 October.

3 - Mr Shahram Azmoude, editor-in-chief of Talesh magazine, was arrested on 1 October and released on bail on 3 October.

4 - Mrs Safieh Gharebaghi, a freelance journalist at Zanjan city, was arrested on 1 October and released on bail on 8 October.

5 - Mr Ali Salem, the Shargh newspaper journalist, was arrested on 3 October and released on 21 October.

6 - Mr Alborz Nezami, a journalist at Donaye Eghtesad newspapers, was arrested on 2 October at his home and released one week after that.

7- Mr Ahamd Halabi Saz, a freelance news photographer, was arrested on 25 September but has since been released.

8- Mrs Bahar Aslani, a freelance photographer, was arrested on 26 September and released on bail weeks later.

9- Mrs Fatemeh Rajabi, Haft Sobh newspaper and Boursan website journalist, was arrested on 22 September and released on bail.

10- Mr Fardin Kamangar, a veteran journalist at Sanandaj city, was arrested on 6 October and released on bail.

11- Mr Jabar Dastbaz, a reporter at the Roudav website, was arrested on 25 September and released on bail.

12- Mrs Samira Alinejad, a journalist at the Kerman e No news website, was arrested on 22 September in Sirjan and released on bail.

13- Mrs Maryam Mazrooei, a freelance photojournalist, was arrested on 5 October and released on 24 October.

14- Mr Kianoosh Sanjari, a former VOA journalist, was arrested on 13 November and released on 16 November.

15 - Mr Sivash Soleimani, a veteran journalist at Urmia city, was arrested on 1 October and released on bail one month later.

16- Mr Vahid Shamsoldinnejad, the Arte news channel journalist, was arrested on 28 September and released on 22 November on bail.

17- Mr Navid Jamshidi, editor in chief at Asia news website, was arrested on 24 September and released on 23 November on bail.

18- Mr Pejman Rahbar, editor-in-chief of the Varzesh3 sports website, was arrested on 24 November and released on the same day.

19- Mr Mojtaba Rahimi, a freelance journalist, was arrested on 23 September and released on 23 November on bail.

20- Mr Mohammad Ramezani, a photojournalist at ISNA news agency in Khaf city, was arrested on 12 October and released on bail on 23 October.

21- Mr Saman Ghazali, the freelance environment journalist, was arrested on 25 September in Mahabad city and released on bail on 23 November.

22- Mrs Somayeh Masroor, the Ilna news agency reporter, was arrested on 8 October in Isfahan city and released on bail a couple of days later.

23- Mr Vahid Shadman, a freelance news photographer, was arrested on 27 October and released a couple of days later.

24- Mrs Nastaran Farokheh, a journalist at Shargh newspaper, was arrested on 27 November in her home and released on 5 December.

25- Mr Mahdi Amirpour, a sports journalist, was arrested on 27 November at his home by the Ministry of Intelligence and released on 6 December.

26- Mr Adel Karimi, Photojournalist at Haje Kurdistan news website, was arrested on 11 October at his home and released on 4 December.

27- Mr Farshid Ghorbanpour, Journalist at Haft Sobh newspaper, was arrested on 25 September in Tehran and released on 7 December.

28- Mrs Saide Fathi, a freelance Sports journalist, was arrested on 16 October at her home in Tehran and released on 9 December.

29- Mr Yaghma Fakhshami, a freelance journalist, was arrested after being summoned to the Intelligence Ministry on 2 November and released on 10 December.

30- Mr Hossein Esmaeili, a freelance photojournalist in Sabzevar city, was arrested on 12 October and released on 12 December.

31-  Mr Reza Asadabadi, a labour journalist at ILNA news agency, was arrested on 23 November in his house and released on 27 December.

32- Mr Alireza Khoshbakht, a freelance journalist, was arrested on 23 September on the streets of Tehran and released on 25 December.

33- Mrs Marzieh Amiri, a journalist at Shargh newspaper, was arrested on 31 October and released on 17 December.

34- Mrs Maryam Vahidian, a labour area journalist at ILNA news agency, was arrested on 27 November at her birthday party.

35- Mrs Yalda Moayeri, freelance news photographer and award-winning photographer, was arrested in Tehran on 21 September and released on 20 December.

36- Mr Roholah Zarin, a freelance journalist in Kurdistan, was arrested on 5 January and released on 8 January.

37- Mrs Nazila Maroofian, a journalist at the Dideban Iran website and Rouydad24 website, was arrested on 30 October in Tehran and released on 9 January.

38- Mr Mehdi Beik, a journalist at Etemad newspaper, he arrested on 5 January and released on 10 January.

39- Mrs Maryam Ghanad, a journalist at the Irna news agency, was arrested on December 11 and released on January 11.

40- Mr Omid Tahan Bidhendi, a freelance journalist and former reporter for Mehr news agency, was arrested on 4 October in Tehran and released on 11 January.

41- Mrs Mehrnoush Tafian, a local freelance journalist in Abadan city, was arrested on 28 September in Ahwaz city and released on 12 January.

42- Mr Milad Alavi, a Shargh newspaper journalist, was arrested on 1 January and released on 16 January.

43- Mr Rouholah Nakhaei, a freelance journalist, was arrested on 23 September on the streets of Tehran and released on 16 January.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

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