According to local media, an Iranian court condemned two female journalists to prison terms of up to seven years for, among other things, “collaborating” with the US administration.
Following their reporting about Mahsa Amini’s passing while being held by the police in September 2022, both had been in prison for more than a year. An appeal of this preliminary sentence is allowed within 20 days.
According to the judiciary news website Mizan on Sunday, the two journalists, Niloufar Hamedi, who first reported Amini’s murder for donning her headscarf too loosely, and Elaheh Mohammadi, who wrote about her funeral, have each received sentences of seven and six years in prison.
According to Mezan, the Tehran Revolutionary Court accused them of “propaganda against the system,” “collusion against national security,” and “collaborating with the hostile American government.”
While Mohammadi worked for Ham-Mihan, Hamedi was employed by the reformist publication Shargh. In September 2022, they were taken into custody. They each received the UN’s top press freedom honor in May “for their commitment to truth and accountability.”
In hundreds of Iranian cities, months-long protests followed Amini’s passing. Since the 2009 Green Movement protests brought millions of people out into the streets, the demonstrations have constituted one of the most significant threats to the Islamic Republic.
Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi’s reportage was essential in the days following Amini’s death to spread the word about the outrage that followed, even though almost 100 journalists were detained amid the protests.
International outrage over their detentions stems from the brutal crackdown by the security forces that continued for months after Amini’s death. Human rights activists in Iran estimate that at least 529 people have died during protests since they started.
Authorities have detained over 19,700 additional people as part of a brutal crackdown meant to quell the unrest. While confirming that tens of thousands of people had been imprisoned, Iran has been withholding overall casualty data for months.