Iran condemns female journalists on charges related to Amini protests

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Women take part in a demonstration to mark the first anniversary of Mahsa Amini's death in Istanbul

Women take part in a demonstration on the first anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death, which sparked nationwide protests, in Istanbul, Turkey, September 16, 2023. The sign reads: ‘We rebel against the world for Mahsa Amini “. REUTERS/Dilara Senkaya/File Photo Acquire license rights

DUBAI (Reuters) – An Iranian Revolutionary Court imposed long prison sentences on two female journalists for their coverage of the death in custody of Iranian-Kurd Mahsa Amini last year, state media reported on Sunday.

The death of Amini, 22, last September while in morality police custody for allegedly violating the Islamic dress code sparked months of mass protests across Iran, marking the largest challenge to Iran’s clerical leaders in decades.

Iran’s state news agency IRNA said Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi were sentenced to 13 and 12 years in prison respectively on charges including collaborating with the US government and acting against national security.

Lawyers for the two journalists rejected the charges.

“They received seven years and six years respectively for collaborating with the hostile US government. Then each five years in prison for acting against national security and each one year in prison for propaganda against the system,” IRNA reported.

Hamedi was detained after taking a photograph of Amini’s parents hugging each other in a Tehran hospital where their daughter lay in a coma and mohammadi after covering Amini’s funeral in his Kurdish hometown of Saqez, where protests began.

IRNA said the “sentences issued” were subject to appeal.

If confirmed, the time the women have already spent in Evin prison, where the majority of political prisoners are held, would be deducted from their sentences, according to the judiciary’s Mizan news agency.

A statement released by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry in October last year accused Mohammadi and Hamedi of being agents of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

“There is documented evidence of Hamedi and Mohammadi’s intentional connections to certain entities and individuals affiliated with the United States government,” Mizan reported.

Written by Parisa Hafezi; edited by Barbara Lewis

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