Washington, D.C., May 6, 2019 — Iranian authorities should immediately release Kayvan Samimi, editor-in-chief of Iran-e-Farda magazine, and Marzieh Amiri, economics reporter at Tehran-based newspaper Shargh Daily, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On May 1, Police arrested Samimi and Amiri while they were covering a Labor Day demonstration in front of the Iranian parliament building in Tehran, according to news reports. According to U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Liberty/Radio Europe, police violently dispersed people protesting inflation and calling for the right to establish independent labor organizations.
“Iranian authorities must immediately release editor Kayvan Samimi and reporter Marzieh Amiri without charge,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Jailing journalists who cover protests will not erase the underlying issues that drove the protesters onto the streets.”
No charges have been made public, and both journalists are being held in section 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison, which is managed by the Ministry of Intelligence, according to tweets by Samimi’s colleague Maziar Khosravi and by Amiri’s employer.
Police arrested dozens during the rally, including several labor activists, according to news reports. On May 4, Iranian Attorney-General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri told the semi-official Mehr news agency that those arrested during the May 1 demonstrations would be released “soon,” but did not specify a date.
Samimi previously served a six-year prison sentence in Evin prison, from 2009 to 2015, for his critical writing, as CPJ and the BBC reported at the time.