Police officers are seen in Tehran, Iran, on August 15, 2020. Authorities recently jailed journalist Khosrow Sadeghi Borojeni. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iranian journalist Khosrow Sadeghi Borojeni begins 7-year jail term

Washington, D.C., September 14, 2020 — Iranian authorities should release journalist Khosrow Sadeghi Borojeni immediately and cease arbitrarily jailing members of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

On September 9, Borojeni, a freelance columnist, was taken to Tehran’s Evin Prison to begin a seven-year jail term, according to reports by the exile-run outlets IranWire and the Human Rights Activists News Agency. None of the reports on his arrest or sentence cite any specific articles or actions prompting the journalist’s detention.

Borojeni’s personal website, last updated in June, featured commentary on current events in Iran, including economic and political topics; he frequently wrote about sensitive issues, such as poverty among Iranian workers and the government’s alleged mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic.

On June 13, Branch 36 of Tehran’s Appeals Court sentenced Borojeni to seven years in prison on charges of “colluding against national security and insulting the Islamic republic’s founder,” as CPJ documented at the time. He was arrested on August 18 in the northwestern Iranian province of West Azerbaijan, and was held for three weeks before being transferred to Evin Prison, according to those reports.

“The jailing of journalist Khosrow Sadeghi Borojeni on vague ‘national security’ and ‘insult’ charges is just another example of Iranian authorities’ contempt for the press,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Borojeni should be released immediately and all charges against him dropped.”

Borojeni is required to serve at least five years of his sentence, according to reports.

Borojeni was sentenced to eight years in prison in February, as CPJ documented at the time; his sentence was later reduced to seven years by the appeals court, according to those news reports. He was previously arrested on May 8, 2019, and was detained for six nights before being released on bail, according to reports.

CPJ called the Tehran judiciary for comment, but no one answered.