Imprisoned Journalists’ Trials Begin in Iran

May 30, 2023

The trial of imprisoned journalist Niloufar Hamedi began Tuesday in Iran’s Islamic Court, one day after her fellow imprisoned journalist Elaheh Mohammadi’s case also went to trial. 

Earlier this month, Hamedi and Mohammadi were awarded the UNESCO prize—United Nations’ premier journalism prize “for their commitment to truth and accountability”—for their coverage of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody last fall. 

Hamedi broke the story on September 16, revealing to the world that Amini died in custody three days after she was arrested by Iran’s morality police for not properly wearing a religious head covering called a hijab.

The story touched off months of protests, posing the most serious challenge to the Islamic Republic since the 2009 Green Movement drew millions of protesters, and even raised questions about the fate of Iran’s morality police

Mohammadi, who wrote about Amini’s funeral, faces similar charges as Hamedi, which include “collaborating with the hostile government of the United States” and “conspiring to commit crimes against national security and propagandistic activity against the system,” judiciary spokesperson Masoud Setayeshi, told the Reformist Iranian newspaper Shargh Daily last month.

Mohammadi’s trial opened on Monday. The two journalists have been in prison for over eight months. 

“Niloufar [has] denied all the accusations and emphasized that she performed her duties as a journalist within the framework of the law and did not take any action against Iran’s security,” Hamedi’s husband, Mohammad Hassan Ajurlou, tweeted Tuesday.

He added that the trial was held in private and no members of her family were allowed to witness the proceedings. 

Mohammadi’s attorney Shahab Mirlohi has accused Iranian authorities of treating her client unlawfully, including keeping her in solitary confinement for long periods. 

He also said the Revolutionary Court “does not have the jurisdiction to hear this case,” arguing that the case should be heard publicly before a jury instead. 

PHOTO: Mahsa Amini protest at Amir Kabir University in Iran, Sept 2022

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