Two journalists who reported on Mahsa Amini’s death jailed for 25 years
Mahsa Amini's death sparked protests across Iran and around the world.
Journalists Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi have been sentenced to 13 and 12 years in prison respectively for collaborating with the US government, among other charges.
Ms Hamedi broke the news of Ms Amini’s death after she was stopped by law enforcement for wearing her headscarf incorrectly, while Ms Mohammadi covered her funeral in September 2022.
They can appeal the sentence within 20 days, according to Iran’s state news media.
Ms Amini, who was 22 and Iranian-Kurdish, was visiting Tehran last year when she was arrested by the morality police for allegedly breaching Iran’s dress code for women. She died in custody under suspicious circumstances.
Her death sparked the beginning of a worldwide movement called ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’, which is calling for an end to Iran’s imposition of the wearing of the headscarf on all women alongside other discriminatory laws.
The Tehran Revolutionary Court charged the two journalists with collaborating with the hostile US government, colluding against national security and with propaganda against the system.
Iran’s state news media, the IRNA, said: ‘They received seven years and six years each respectively for collaborating with the hostile US government. Then each five years in prison for acting against the national security and one year in prison for propaganda against the system.’
Ms Hamedi was detained after taking a photo of Ms Amini’s parents hugging each other in hospital where their daughter was in a coma.
And Ms Mohammadi was detained for covering Ms Amini’s funeral, which took place in her Kurdish hometown of Saqqez.
Their lawyers have rejected the charges.
The Committee to Protect Journalists in New York has since condemned the sentencing of the two women and is calling for their immediate release.
Sherif Mansour, the CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator said the convictions are a ‘travesty’.
He said: ‘The convictions of Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh 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.’
The US has condemned the sentences, with the US deputy special envoy for Iran, Abram Paley, posting on social media.
He said: ‘Niloufar and Elaheh should never have been jailed, and we condemn their sentences. The Iranian regime jails journalists because it fears the truth.’
The two women are being held at Evin prison, which hosts most political prisoners.
In a statement last October, Iran’s intelligence ministry accused Ms Hamedi and Ms Mohammadi of being agents for the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency.
It said: ‘There is documented evidence of Hamedi and Mohammadi’s intentional connections with certain entities and individuals affiliated with the U.S. government.’
The United Nations awarded both journalists its top prize for press freedom in May for their dedication to truth and accountability.
Ms Amini’s death sparked months of protests in cities across Iran and around the world.
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