Hamedi and Mohammadi were among the first journalists to cover the death in custody of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, which sparked demonstrations throughout the country on 16 September 2022. The two journalists, who were accused by the Iranian authorities of spying in a statement released in October, will stand trial at the end of May. Spying charges carry the death penalty in the country.
The IFJ affiliate in Iran, the TPJA, issued an official request to the judiciary on 24 May, demanding that the court proceedings be open and accessible to the public and the media. The union also called on the judicial authorities to allow the presence of a chosen lawyer, instead of court-appointed ones, to uphold the right of Hamedi and Mohammadi to a fair trial.
The TPJA statement reads: “Unfortunately, in recent years, the existing procedure has been such that these types of trials have been held in private and without the presence of media. A method that prevents the public from being informed about the hearing’s details and the truth of the matter.”
"Conforming to the law of criminal procedure, the creation of sufficient facilities for the presence of a chosen lawyer, and the defence is the basic right of the defendants. Therefore, the TPJA’s committee that monitors the situation of detained journalists in Iran expects the rights of Hamedi and Mohammadi to be respected in the hearings. Because one of the necessary conditions for a fair trial is [for it] to be public and [for it to] allow the presence of a chosen lawyer," it concludes.
IFJ president Dominique Pradalié said: “We strongly warn the Iranian authorities about giving massive court judgments to journalists Hamedi and Mohammadi, who have been unfairly detained for nine months for simply doing their job. The imprisonment of journalists sends an alarming sign at the international level. We once again condemn the unfounded accusations against our colleagues and urge the authorities to drop all charges against them. Journalism is not a crime and the Islamic Republic must release all imprisoned journalists and media workers in the country.”
On 3 May, the two reporters and the imprisoned Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi were awarded the 2023 Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize by the United Nations' cultural agency, UNESCO.
Nine months on from the start of mass protests following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini on 16 September 2022, 13 journalists are still being held behind bars for their coverage of the civil unrest.
Journalists currently in jail in Iran:
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 at her home in Tehran on 23 September.
3- Mr Alireza Jabari Darestani, a journalist at Mehr news agency, was arrested in Tehran on 25 September.
4- Mr Iman Beh Pasand, a freelance journalist, was arrested at his home in Tehran on 22 September.
5- Mrs Vida Rabani, a freelance journalist at Shargh newspaper, was arrested at her home in Tehran on 24 September.
6- Mrs Farzaneh Yahya Abadi, a local freelance journalist in Abadan city, was arrested at her workplace on 19 October.
7- Mrs Farkhondeh Ashoori, a freelance journalist and former reporter at Fars news agency, was arrested in Shiraz city on 17 October.
8- Mr Hashem Moazen Zadeh, a freelance journalist, was arrested in Tehran on 23 September.
9- Mrs Maral Dar Afarin, a local journalist in Gilan province, was arrested on 1 November.
10- Mr Amir Maskani, editor-in-chief of Sabzevar e Emrooz magazine, was arrested in Sabzevar city on 22 November.
11- Mr Siamand Mohtadi, a freelance journalist, was arrested in Bukan City on 13 February.
12- Mrs Jina Modares Gorji, a freelance journalist, was arrested in Sanandaj city on 11 April.
13- Mr Kamyar Fakoor, the Khabaronline labour reporter, has been in jail since 9 May 2023 and is serving a nine-month jail term