New York, June 3, 2019 -- The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemned the sentencing today of Masoud Kazemi, the editor-in-chief of the monthly Sedaye Parsi political magazine. Judge Mohammad Moghiseh of Tehran's Revolutionary Guard Corps Branch 28 court found Kazemi guilty on national security charges of spreading misinformation and insulting the supreme leader and other Iranian officials, and sentenced him to four and a half years in prison followed by a two-year ban from working as a journalist, according to news reports.
The charges stem from posts that Kazemi made on Twitter in November 2018 relaying his reporting on corruption in Iran's Ministry of Industry, according to those reports.
"With this heavy prison sentence Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps is clearly signaling that any journalist who reports on government corruption will face a similar fate," said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. "Masoud Kazemi is a journalist informing Iranian citizens not a criminal undermining state security. He should be released immediately."
Kazemi was initially arrested in November, but was issued bail, his lawyer said on Twitter. On May 22, Kazemi arrived at the Revolutionary Guard Corps Branch 28 court to stand trial on anti-state propaganda charges when the judge announced new charges against him and sent him to Evin prison, CPJ reported at the time.
CPJ emailed the press office of the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, which oversees domestic journalists and media, but did not immediately receive a response.