Monday , 28 November 2022

Iran Protests: 40 Jailed Journalists are Tip of the Iceberg

Iranwire – A reporter in Iran has told IranWire that more than 40 journalists from across Iran have been arrested, summoned or threatened after recent nationwide protests. On Tuesday, October 1, 2022, the Association of Iranian Journalists published  a list of those arrested since the beginning of the protests, by province and city, according to which 23 journalists and media activists have been arrested. IranWire has also confirmed the identity of 27 journalists arrested in nationwide protests.

A journalist from Sirjan told IranWire that many journalists and media activists have been arrested, in small towns, whose names are not mentioned in the statistics. This reporter, whose camera was seized by security agents while walking in the street, explains: “Many journalists have been summoned, interrogated and threatened. Some of them have been threatened through their families and some have been detained and released after several hours of interrogation. They have created an atmosphere of terror for journalists in small towns, so that they cannot spread the news and images of the protests to other people and news networks.”

Another journalist from Iran says that more than 40 journalists have been arrested so far. The latest statistics on Friday, September 30, of those arrested, published by the Human Rights Campaign in Iran, indicate that at least 36 Iranian journalists and media activists have been detained in prisons; 25 of them have been arrested and imprisoned in the first 11 days.

Hadi Ghaemi, the director of the Human Rights Campaign in Iran, predicts that the number of arrests of journalists will increase in the coming days and that the arrests will continue.

Nemat Ahmadi, a lawyer, expressed concern about the conditions of detention of journalists and media activists, and told IranWire that: “None of the journalists have been able to contact either their journalist colleagues or a lawyer. This is how most of the detainees have been treated. because we are in a very special circumstances and the number of detainees is added every day.”

Referring to the release of 400 detainees during the recent protests, by the Tehran prosecutor on October 4, this lawyer and university professor explains: “This shows how many detainees there are, that only 400 people were released at once.”

According to Nemat Ahmadi, no lawyer has yet been able to represent any prominent media figures. “If they say that the arrests are security-related, their case will be placed under the note of Article 48, and they should choose only from among the lawyers trusted by the judiciary. But these lawyers are not inclined to take these cases and they prefer the paid cases in which there is money,” he said.

A journalist in Iran says: “Physically, we are good, but mentally, we are not; unless they arrest us, then we will be bad in both ways.” The reporter added: “We do not even know each other because of the fear of arrest and the lack of internet.”

In the recent protests and following the arrest or summons of journalists, and specifically after the arrest of two journalists from Sharq and Hammiham newspapers, Tehran’s morning newspapers generally publish reports on the protests without the author’s name.

Concerns also persist that these journalists will be charged with security offences rather than media ones. Mr. Ahmadi says: “If the intention of the judiciary is to be fair and they want to deal fairly with the case of arrested journalists and media activists, they should prosecute them under press criminal charges. In this case, a jury must be present after the trial stage, because these people are journalists and may travel to Saqqez, for instance, or move around the city to perform their duties and work. These people have not committed any crime. They should be dealt with in the press court and in accordance with the press law.”

Detaineesfrom the recent protests are unlikely to have yet seen a lawyer. Or if they have, then it is unlikely or impossible for these lawyers to already have gained access to the files of the detainees.

According to Nemat Ahmadi, after several weeks, many lawyers have not even visited the prosecutor’s office to complete the initial paperwork for their cases. A number of those arrested have not yet been charged.

Mohammad Hossein Ajorlou, the husband of Niloufar Hamedi, wrote on his Twitter account on October 4: “Niloufar Hamedi called me on Tuesday night, on the thirteenth day of her arrest. She is doing well and is in a cell with eight other detainees. I still do not know anything about the case or the time of her release. But because many friends are following on my wife’s condition, I felt it necessary to inform the people.”

Niloufar is a journalist and a member of the editorial staff of Shargh newspaper, who was arrested when protests over the death of Mahsa Amini began.

“First of all, the arrested person should be charged. In this situation, journalists and media activists live in an information vacuum and complete ignorance. If the journalist or any arrested person has a lawyer, at least he has a psychological advantage, and also the judge has not committed a violation,” Ahmadi says.

According to the investigation and verification of IranWire, 27 journalists and photographers have been arrested in Iran so far. IranWire is unable to verify if any student or citizen journalists are also among those detailed.

According to the investigation and verification of IranWire, 27 journalists and photographers have been arrested in Iran so far. The 27 are listed below.

1: Nilofar Hamedi (Sharq Newspaper, September 21, arrested in Tehran),

2: Masoud Kordpour (journalist and one of the directors of Mokrian news agency, arrested on September 20, Bukan city of Urmia),

3: Vida Rabbani (news photographer, arrested September 24, in Tehran),

4: Ruhollah Nakhaei (freelance journalist, arrested on September 23, in Tehran),

5: Iman Behpasand (freelance journalist, arrested on September 22, in Tehran),

6: Fatemeh Rajabi (Haft-e Sobh newspaper published in Tehran and Bourseon news portal, arrested September 22, at her home in Tehran),

7: Yalda Moayeri (freelance news photographer, arrested September 20,  in Tehran),

8: Alireza Khoshbakht (freelance political journalist, arrested in Tehran),

9: Mojtaba Rahimi (journalist living in Qazvin),

10: Ahmad Halabisaz (news photographer, arrested on September 24, Tehran),

11: Alireza Jabari Darestani (journalist at Mehr News Agency, arrested in Tehran),

12: Samira Alinejad (reporter in Sirjan Ravi, arrested on Wednesday September 21),

13: Farshid Gorbanpour (literary journalist and manager of Soren Book virtual bookstore, arrested on Sunday, September 25, at around 3:30am his home),

14: Navid Jamshidi (journalist for economic desk in Asia newspaper, arrested at midnight on September 29, at his home in Tehran’s Writers’ Quarter),

15: Jabar Dastbaz (journalist in Kurdistan, arrested on Thursday, September 21, severely beaten and kidnapped by security forces at Cyrus intersection in Sanandaj),

16: Elaheh Mohammadi (journalist of Ham-mihan newspaper, arrested in Tehran on September 29, after being summoned by phone),

17: Mohsen Ravari (journalist in Jiroft, arrested on September 23),

18: Mohsen Ahmadizadeh (local journalist in Jiroft, who was arrested on September 23),

19: Aria Jafari (photojournalist for ISNA news agency and responsible for the photo service of this news agency in Isfahan. He was arrested by the security forces at his home on Sunday, September 25, 2022),

20: Mehrnoosh Tafian (journalist in environment, workers, marginalized population issues, was arrested in Ahvaz on September 27, 2022),

21: Shahram Azmoudeh (journalist and editor-in-chief of Talesh va Moalem),

22: Siavash Soleimani (journalist and veteran media activist from Urmia, arrested at his home by the intelligence agents of the Urmia Guard Corps on October 1, 2022).

23: Safieh Gharabaghi ​​(journalist and women’s rights activist, arrested at her workplace on October 1, in Zanjan)

24: Alborz Nezami (on the October 2, he was arrested at his workplace, Donya-e Eghtesad newspaper).

25: Ali Salem (working in the Andisheh group of Shargh newspaper, arrested on Monday, October 3, 2022),

26: Saman Ghazali (Kurd newspaper),

27: Batul Belali (a reporter of Farday-e Kerman news agency and Pasargad local newspaper in Kerman, was arrested on September 21 and released a few days later)

From the above journalists, Batul Belali was released on Saturday, October 1, and Shahram Azmoudeh was released on Monday, October 3.

And it goes without saying that any journalist who is not detained is nevertheless unable to fully cover news inside Iran due to the fear of arrest and insufficient internet access.

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