Journalist tried in Iran after covering Mahsa Amini's death

An Iranian journalist arrested after covering the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, who sparked a massive protest movement in Iran, has denied charges against her at the opening of her trial on Tuesday (May 30th) in Tehran, her husband said.

A woman looks at the photo of journalists Niloufar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, November 2, 2022. © CHRISTINA ASSI / AFP

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Niloufar Hamedi, 30, told the court that she had "done her job as a journalist within the framework of the law and did not commit any act against Iran's security," her husband, Mohammad Hossein Ajorlou, said on Twitter.

Niloufar Hamedi was brought before Judge Abolghasem Salavati, known for the severity of his verdicts in political trials, in Section 15 of Tehran's Revolutionary Court. According to the journalist's husband, the family was unable to attend the hearing while the lawyers "did not have the opportunity to present their case". The trial has been postponed to an unspecified date, he added.


There was no time for oral defence " said Shargh Parto Borhanpour, Niloufar Hamedi's lawyer, adding, however, that the lawyers had been able to present their objections and requests. The lawyers protested against "Niloufar Hamedi's lack of access to a lawyer during his detention" and demanded that the trial take place "publicly", she added.

The trial of Niloufar Hamedi, a journalist with the reformist daily Shargh, began a day after that of another journalist, Elaheh Mohammadi, 36. The two women were imprisoned for covering the death of Mahsa Amini, a 16-year-old Iranian Kurd arrested in Tehran by the vice police, on 22 September. The latter accused him of violating the Islamic Republic's dress code, including requiring women to wear the veil in public.

>> READ ALSO: Freedom of the press - Iran, Afghanistan: theocracies at war with press freedom

The two defendants, who have never been released, are being tried separately and behind closed doors in Tehran. They face the death penalty after being charged on 8 November with "propaganda" against the Islamic Republic and conspiracy against national security.

Niloufar Hamedi was arrested on 20 September after reporting from the hospital where Mahsa Amini spent three days in a coma before dying. Elaheh Mohammadi, who worked for the reformist newspaper Ham Miham, was arrested on 29 September after travelling to Saghez, the town of Mahsa Amini, in Kurdistan province, to cover her funeral, which had sparked a demonstration.

Press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders called the trials a "judicial sham," noting that the two journalists were "among the first to draw public attention to Mahsa Amini's death." The absence of a meeting with their lawyers before the trial "confirms that we are witnessing a judicial farce" that "aims only to legitimize the violent repression of these two journalists," RSF added.

🇮🇷New evidence of the judicial farce against journalists who covered the death of #MahsaAmini in #Iran: the lawyers of Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi banned from speaking during the 1st hearings. RSF calls for their immediate release. 👇

— RSF (@RSF_inter) May 30, 2023

The two women were awarded in May, together with imprisoned Iranian dissident Narges Mohammadi, with the 2023 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

>> READ ALSO: The number of journalists imprisoned worldwide has reached a new record in 2022

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  • Iran
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