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October 24, 2023

Elaheh Mohammadi and Niloufar Hamedi Sentenced to Prison for Reporting the Truth

Elaheh Mohammadi and Niloufar Hamedi, who had been held in custody for an entire year, have been convicted by the Revolutionary Court. After they covered the tragic events surrounding the passing and burial of Mahsa Amini, these two journalists found themselves in the crosshairs of the Iranian authorities. Both journalists strongly deny any wrongdoing, insisting that their actions were nothing more than fulfilling their journalistic duties, a sentiment they reiterated during their recent court appearance.

According to the court’s judgment, Elaheh Mohammadi has been sentenced to 6 years in prison, with charges including “collaboration with a hostile government (the United States),” 5 years for “conspiracy and collusion against national security,” and 1 year for “anti-government propaganda activities.” Similarly, Niloufar Hamedi received a 7-year prison term, comprising charges such as “collaboration with a hostile government (the United States),” 5 years for “conspiracy and collusion against national security,” and 1 year for “anti-government propaganda activities.”

Upon upholding these sentences, Elaheh Mohammadi will be imprisoned for a total of 6 years, while Niloufar Hamedi will be imprisoned for a total of 7 years. As a supplementary punishment, they have also been banned from participating in political parties, groups, virtual activities, media, and the press for a period of two years following imprisonment.

Hamedi was arrested by Iranian security forces at her residence on September 22, 2022, while Elaheh Mohammadi faced arrest a week later. Mohammadi and Hamedi were detained for over eight months before their trial even commenced. In June of this year, they met with their chosen legal counsel for the first time immediately prior to the initiation of their trials. 

Both the Ministry of Intelligence and the Intelligence Organization of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps have made grave accusations against these two journalists, explicitly implicating them in foreign government ties and presenting conspiracy theories in lengthy statements. The allegations, which appear to have no evidentiary basis, have been echoed by the Judiciary’s Media Center. The editorial leadership of the newspapers in which they worked – Shargh and Hammihan – have consistently backed up the journalists and refuted the allegations.

After months of detention, Mohammadi and Hamedi were initially tried in secrecy, despite widespread calls for their temporary release.

During her final court session on July 26, Hamedi proclaimed, “I take pride in my journalism.” Mohammadi, another journalist who had traveled to Sanandaj to cover Mahsa Amini’s funeral, asserted her innocence, stating, “I take pride in standing up for the people.”

Just a few days ago, Shargh newspaper published an open letter signed by 200 Iranian journalists, writers, and intellectuals demanding the immediate release of Mohammadi and Hamedi.

Within a 20-day period, these two journalists may file appeals.

In recent months, dozens of other Iranian journalists have been imprisoned.

NIAC strongly condemns the suppression of journalists within Iran. It appears that Hamedi and Mohammadi are being punished merely for fulfilling their journalistic mission, and that the truth of their reporting reflects poorly upon the Islamic Republic and its ongoing brutality toward many of its people. 

We once again call upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to release these journalists, as well as all political prisoners, immediately. It is imperative that Iran complies with international law and ceases its violations of human rights, including its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to permit freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

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