Washington, D.C., September 2, 2020 – Iranian journalist Mohammad Mosaed was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison, a two-year ban on journalism activities, and a two-year ban on using all communications devices by Branch 26 of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court, according to a tweet from Mosaed earlier today. Mosaed, who will be honored with the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2020 International Press Freedom Award in November, wrote that he will be compelled to serve at least four years of his prison sentence.
“CPJ strongly condemns the harsh sentence handed down by Iran’s judiciary to journalist Mohammad Mosaed for simply informing Iranians about events of national importance,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Accusing Mosaed of creating a crisis through his reporting is just the latest in the Iranian government’s hypocritical approach to journalism. Banning Mosaed from using communication devices is a farcical punishment in 2020 but reflects just how desperate the government is to suppress the truth.”
According to a source familiar with the case who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisal, Mosaed, a freelance economic reporter, was charged on August 17 with “colluding against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the system,” and was sentenced on August 25. The source also confirmed that Mosaed and his lawyer plan to appeal the sentence in the coming days.
Mosaed was charged in connection with two past arrests, the source told CPJ. He was first detained on November 22, 2019, after he posted on Twitter during a government-implemented internet shutdown, as CPJ documented. Mosaed was transferred to Evin prison where he was held for 16 days before he was released on bail. On February 22, 2020, he was arrested again and detained for several hours after he posted critically about the government on social media, CPJ documented. During that arrest, authorities ordered him to delete his Telegram channel and suspended his Twitter account.
CPJ’s call to Tehran’s judiciary was not answered.