Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, the Iranian colleagues in prison for more than a year, because they simply carried out their work, faithfully reporting what had happened to Mahsa Amini, the young woman who died after being beaten by morality police because she wore her headscarf inappropriately, have been sentenced to 6 years in prison.
We cannot accept this condemnation because true journalism is not a crime. This must be clear and we ask all colleagues to mobilize to defend our freedom of expression. We are living in a very difficult historical moment, but it is necessary to show these two courageous women that we are with them. We are tired of hearing about “gender parity” repeatedly and then no one acts to defend the rights of these women who are braver than us.
Some people must start to feel ashamed, because they only engage in useless parlor talk, instead of taking the field to truly enforce women’s rights.
These are the sentences for the convictions. Niloofar Hamedi was sentenced to 7 years in prison on the charge of collaborating with the hostile Government of the United States: 5 years in prison for collusion and collusion to commit crimes against the country’s security and 2 years in prison on the charge of propagating against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Elaheh Mohammadi: sentenced to 6 years in prison on the charge of cooperating with the hostile Government of the United States: 5 years in prison for collusion and collusion to commit crimes against the country’s security and 1 year in prison on the charge of propagating activities against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Judgments issued in person and within 20 days can be challenged in the Court of Appeals of Tehran, and if the judgment is approved by the Court of Appeals, the defendants will suffer severe punishment (6 years of imprisonment for Elaheh Mohammadi and 7 years of imprisonment for Niloofer Hamedi).
One year ago Niloofar Hamedi, an Iranian photographer, who works for the reformist daily newspaper Shargh Daily, broke the news of the custodial death of Mahsa Amini, after managing to enter Kasra Hospital on 16 September, in Tehran, where the 22-year-old Amini was being treated following her detention by the morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab inappropriately.
The police version was that the young girl had a sudden heart problem, but Amini’s parents disputed that report. Only a few hours later Mahsa would die. Niloofar Hamedi had tweeted a photo of Amini’s parents crying in the hospital. And the spread of this image triggered protests across the nation.
On 22 September, Niloofar Hamedi was arrested. As her lawyer Mohammad Ali Kamfirouzi explained, security officers broke into her home, arrested her, ransacked her home and confiscated her belongings. Not only that, her Twitter account was suspended without explanation.
THE SECOND HEARING
The second and last hearing was held on July 25. Her husband said that her lawyers were granted the opportunity to present their arguments during the closed-door session, but we do not know exactly how the procedure was.
At her first hearing, held in May, the charges against her were: collaborating with the “hostile” government of the United States, colluding to commit crimes against national security, and engaging in propaganda activities against the regime.
There is no reason to keep them in jail with these fake accusations. As always we ask for the release of Niloofar and Elaheh because they were doing only their honest work. And we invite our colleagues all around the world to join us in demanding for them to be freed in the name of free journalism.