Recently, the Iranian Judiciary has taken drastic measures against journalists and citizens. Two detained journalists have been indicted, while other journalists, teachers, and citizens have been summoned for questioning. This wave of arrests and torture has been ongoing. Even those previously released under the guise of “amnesty” in February are now being summoned and imprisoned again.
The arrest and detention of journalists and activists in Iran is a grave violation of human rights and freedom of expression. The international community must condemn these actions and pressure the Iranian regime to respect the fundamental rights of its citizens.
Indictments for two detained journalists, Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi
According to the Judiciary spokesperson, Massoud Setayeshi, the Judiciary has indicted two detained journalists, Elaheh Mohammadi, and Niloufar Hamedi. Setayeshi stated that the indictments were issued on April 17, 2023, and their case has been referred to Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran.
Setayeshi elaborated on the charges against the two detained journalists, accusing them of “collaborating with hostile governments, participating in a collusion against national security, and engaging in propaganda against the state.”
Niloufar Hamedi, a photojournalist for Shargh newspaper, took and published the first photo of Mahsa Amini in a coma at the hospital. Elaheh Mohammadi, a journalist for Ham-Mihan newspaper, published a report on Mahsa’s funeral and an interview with her father.
Niloufar Hamedi was arrested by security forces at her home on September 22, 2022, and was transferred to Evin prison. In late December 2022, she was transferred to Qarchak prison in Varamin.
Three journalists summoned for the final defense
Saeedeh Shafiei, Mehrnoush Zarei Hanzaki, and Nasim Sultan Beigi have been summoned to present their final defense before the Evin Court in Tehran. They are all journalists.
According to separate notifications sent to these journalists on April 4, 2023, they have been given a five-day deadline to appear at the Evin Court for their final defense. They have been accused of “propaganda against the state.”
Saeedeh Shafiei, a writer and independent journalist, was arrested on January 22, 2023, by security forces at her home in Tehran. She was temporarily released on bail of 500 million tomans until the end of her trial on March 9, 2023.
Mehrnoush Zarei Hanzaki, a journalist for various news agencies, including ILNA, ISNA, Chelcheragh, and ANA, was arrested by security forces in Tehran on February 12, 2023, and transferred to the IRGC Intelligence’s detention center in Evin Prison, Ward 2A. She suffered from migraines during her detention and was deprived of access to her medication. She was finally released from Evin prison in mid-February 2023.
Nasim Sultan Beigi, a former student activist and journalist, was arrested by IRGC intelligence officers at the airport on January 11, 2023, and was transferred to Evin prison. She was temporarily released on bail on February 3, 2023, until the end of her trial.
Summoning of a Teachers’ Union Activist
Tahereh Naghiee, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Iranian Teachers and a former principal of high schools in Tehran’s District 5, has been summoned to appear at Evin Court. Naghiee, a teachers’ union activist, received a notification and must appear at Evin Court on May 17, 2023.
Mohammad Davari, the Organization of Iranian Teachers spokesman, stated that Tahereh Naghiee had been summoned to Evin Court on April 18, 2023, and had been arraigned on the charges against her. However, she refused to answer the prosecutor’s questions because her defense lawyer was absent. Additionally, she denied accusations such as “conspiracy and collusion to commit crimes against domestic and foreign security” and “propaganda against the Islamic Republic.” She was temporarily released on bail after depositing it.
The prosecutor in Ms. Naghiee’s case has cited her social media activity, including tweets, statements, and content published on the Telegram channel “Sokhan-e-Moallem” (Teacher’s Speech), as evidence for the charges against her, a clear violation of freedom of expression and an attempt to silence and intimidate critics of the Iranian government.
Summoning and torture of a Kurdish political prisoner’s mother
In recent days, the intelligence department of Kamyaran County in Kermanshah, western Iran, has put pressure on the family of Pejman Fat’hi, a Kurdish political prisoner. Afsaneh Yousefi, the mother of this political prisoner, was summoned and interrogated for several hours and threatened.
In addition to the psychological torture of Afsaneh Yousefi, the family of Pejman Fat’hi has also been threatened to give up pursuing their son’s situation.