Names of journalists arrested in Iran’s anti-state protests

People light a fire during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by morality police, in Tehran, Iran on September 21, 2022. (West Asia News Agency via Reuters)

When mass protests swept Iran following the death in morality-police custody of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, CPJ began documenting the names of journalists arrested during the uprising. The crackdown led to Iran’s designation as the world’s worst jailer of journalists in CPJ’s 2022 prison census.

The list published here includes names based on information obtained from CPJ’s sources inside Iran, media reports, and the Tehran Journalists Association. As of January 24, 2023, CPJ had recorded 94 arrests, with 47 released on bail.

This tally updates the number reflected in CPJ’s 2022 census of imprisoned journalists, which does not include those freed on bail on the annual census date of December 1. It also adds the names of jailed reporters that CPJ became aware of after publication of its census. (Read more about our methodology.)

Journalists arrested

1) Niloofar Hamedi, reporter for the Tehran-based semi-reformist Shargh Daily, was among the first journalists to report on Amini’s hospitalization, according to a report by the exile-run news website IranWire. Her lawyer, Mohammad-Ali Kamfirouzi, tweeted that Hamedi was able to make a phone call to her husband and say that she is in solitary confinement and being interrogated in Tehran’s Evin Prison. She had not been told of any charges against her.

2) Iman Behpasand, political commentator, columnist, and women’s issues reporter

3) Marzieh Talaee, a Kurdish reporter for Mukrian News Agency arrested in the city of Saqqez in Kurdistan province, arrested on September 22 

4) Masoud Kordpour, editor-in-chief of the Kurdish Mukrian News Agency

5) Elahe Mohammadi, a reporter with the state-run Hammihan Daily. According to a tweet by her lawyer Mohammad-Ali Kamfirouzi, she was arrested on September 22. According to the lawyer, security forces broke the entrance door to her house and confiscated her personal devices such as laptop, books, phone, and her press card. 

6) Vida Rabbani, political commentator recently sentenced to ten years and four months in prison and banned from practicing journalism

7) Hamed Shafiei, political and social reporter

8) Sarvenaz Ahmadi, a freelance political and cultural reporter, who recently reported on forced child labor, was arrested, released, and then rearrested November 6, with her husband, freelance journalist Kamiar Fakour, from their home in Tehran. Security forces raided their home, confiscated their personal devices, and took them to an undisclosed location, their lawyer Mohammad-Ali Kamfirouzi said in a tweet

9) Elmira Bahmani, freelance reporter, commentator, and columnist on women’s rights issues, arrested on September 26 in the northern city of Rasht in Gilan province

10) Mehrnoosh Tafian, a freelance politics reporter, was arrested in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, in the majority Arab province Khuzestan, according to IranWire and CPJ sources.

11) Aria Jaffari, an award-winning photojournalist for Iranian Students News Agency, ISNA, was arrested on September 28 in the central city of Isfahan. 

12) Alireza Jabbari-Darestani, a culture and arts reporter for the state-run Mehr news agency, was arrested on September 25 at his Tehran home and taken to an undisclosed location. 

13) Siavash Soleimanipour, a veteran Azeri-Iranian journalist, was arrested on October 1 in his home in the north western city of Urmia in West Azerbaijan province.

14) Ali Khatibzadeh, a reporter for the Kurdish Mukrian News Agency, was arrested on September 20 in the city of Saqqez.

15) Mohammad Zare-Foumani, publisher of Sedaye Eslahat daily newspaper, was summoned to the Intelligence Ministry October 9 where he was arrested and taken to ward 209 of Evin prison. He was allowed to make a brief phone call to his family and was taken to solitary confinement, according to the journalist’s post on Instagram

16) Freelance reporter Farzaneh Yahya-Abadi was arrested on October 19 from her office in the southern city of Abadan in Khuzestan province. 

17) Freelance reporter Farkhondeh Ashori, a former reporter with the state-run Fars news agency, was arrested on October 17 from her home in the central city of Shiraz in Shiraz province and was taken into an undisclosed location, HRANA reported.

18) Ehsan Pirbornash, a reporter for the state-run sports newspaperIranVarzeshii–where both he and his wife work–was arrested on October 28 in his home in Tehran in the presence of his family, according to a tweet by his wife,Behnaz Mirmotaharian.

19) Freelance photojournalist Vahid Shademan was arrested on October 27 while covering protests in his hometown of ًQasreshirin in the western Kermanshah province, HRANA reported.

20) Porya Mahdavi-Moghddam, a journalist and photojournalist with the official state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), was arrested on October 21 in his hometown of Borujerd in the western Lorestan province. He was arrested in the street on his way home.

21) Freelance environment and labor journalist Kamiar Fakour was arrested with his wife Sarvenaz Ahmadi (listed above, number 18) November 6, their lawyer Mohammad-Ali Kamfirouzi said in a tweet.

22) Malihe Darki, a freelance photojournalist was arrested in the central city of Shiraz in Shiraz province on October 28, IranWire reported. 

23) Nasrin Hassani, a reporter for the local state-run newspaper Etefaghyeh in Bojnourd in North Khorasan province was arrested on September 30. 

24) Fahimeh Nazari, a freelance reporter who writes on politics and history for multiple news websites, was arrested on November 16 in her office in Tehran, HRANA reported.

25) Maryam Vahidian, a freelance reporter who contributes to Shargh Daily was arrested in the early morning of November 28 from her home in Tehran, HRANA and Shargh Daily reported. Her laptop, phone, and other personal devices were confiscated. 

26) Freelance reporter Sajjad Rahmani was arrested in the northern city of Masal on November 29, HRANA reported. 

27) Afshin Gholami, an Iranian Kurdish journalist and the editor-in-chief of the Kurdish online bi-weekly magazine Tafakor Enteghadi (“Critical Thinking”) was arrested October 12 in the city of Bukan in West Azerbaijan province, IranWire reported. 

28) Mohammad Paki, a freelance sports reporter was arrested on November 22 in Tehran, HRANA reported.

29) Shahin Samadpour, a journalist and documentary maker for Islamic Republic state broadcaster (IRIB) was arrested on December 26, HRANA reported. His social media accounts, including on Instagram and Telegram, were suspended prior to his arrest after he released a documentary about a female protester who was allegedly killed during demonstrations.

30) Mehdi Ghadimi, a freelance journalist, was arrested on January 2 from his parents’ home in Karaj, outside Tehran, and was taken to an undisclosed location, HRANA reported. According to the report, security forces ransacked the house and confiscated his laptop, phone, and the building’s CCTV cameras.

31) Hashem Moazenzadeh, editor-in-chief of medical news website Pezshkanoghanoon, was arrested September 21 in Tehran, according to Journalism Is Not A Crime

32) Ashkan Shamipour, a freelance reporter, blogger, and the administrator of the Instagram page “Old Ahvaz” was arrested on October 4 in the Kianpars area in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province. 

33) Omid Hormouzi, a freelance sports reporter and a podcast host, was arrested from his office on November 24 in Tehran, London-based Persian news channel Iran International reported. 

34) Shahriar Ghanbari, editor-in-chief of quarterly cultural and art magazine Badban, was arrested on October 10 in Khoramabad, Lorestan province. 

35) Fatemeh Naser-Ranjbar, a freelance tech reporter, was arrested November 10 in Tehran. 

36) Ziba Omidifar, a Kurdish Iranian journalist for the state-run Kurdpress, was arrested on December 8 in Qorveh in Kurdistan province and taken to an undisclosed location.  

37) Saba Abdollahi, editor-in-chief of the state-run student news website Bidad Students Journal, was arrested on November 15. 

38) Hossein Yazdi, the editor in chief of online news website IranTimes and the news director of the Mobin24 news channel was arrested on December 5 in his hometown of Isfahan, VOA’s Persian service reported.

39) Payam Khodabandehlou, a cultural reporter for the movie website Cinemaf, was arrested on September 22 from his home in Hamadan city in Hamadan province. Security forces confiscated his personal electronic devices including his phone and laptop at the time of his arrest, HRANA reported. 

40) Fazel Torkaman, a freelance cultural reporter who mostly writes about cinema, was arrested on January 2. 

41) Amirhossein Barimani, a freelance journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker, was arrested on October 25 from his home in Tehran and was taken to Fashafouyeh Prison, or Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary. He was recently sentenced to five years in prison on charges that have not been made public, U.S. Congress-funded Persian language Radio Farda reported. According to the report, he was not allowed to hire a lawyer and was tried without due process. 

42) Milad Bidarigh, a freelance reporter, was arrested on November 24 in his hometown of Masal in northern Gilan province and is detained in Ziaber County Prison on unspecified charges, according to Iran Human Rights Society, an exile-based human rights organization. 

43) Saeed Seif-Ali, editor in chief of state-run news website DidbanIran.ir, was arrested on January 7 in Tehran. 

44) Nasim Soltanbeygi, a freelance female reporter, was arrested on January 11 in Tehran’s international airport as she was boarding a plane. Security forces confiscated her personal items and took her to an undisclosed location, HRANAreported. She was able to make a short phone call to her mother to let her know that she was arrested, the report said.

45) Maral Darafarin, a freelance journalist, was arrested in her hometown of Lahijan in Gilan province on November 1st, HRANA reported. 

​​46) Mehrnoush Zarei, a freelance reporter whose work has appeared in several state-run outlets, was arrested on January 22 from her home in Tehran. Security forces ransacked her home, confiscated her cellphone and laptop, and took her to Evin Prison, HRANA reported. 

47) Saeedeh Shafiei, a freelancer reporter, was arrested on January 22 from her home in Tehran, according to HRANA and her husband, writing on Twitter. Security forces seized her devices during the arrest.

Journalists released on bail 

1) Photojournalist Yalda Moaiery, writing on Instagram Stories from a van taking her to jail, said she was beaten and arrested on September 19 while covering protests on Hejab street in downtown Tehran. According to the exile news website IranWire, Moaiery said conditions in Qarchak prison, a female-only detention facility in the city of Varamin, southeast of Tehran, were “horrible,” with more than 100 women crammed into a tight space. “There are only 3 bathrooms for their use and prison authorities prescribe many tranquilizers for the prisoners,” she said. 

2) Ruhollah Nakhaee, foreign policy reporter 

3) Alireza Khoshbakht, political reporter 

4) Zahra Tohidi, political reporter 

5) Fatemeh Rajabi, economics reporter, arrested in her home in Tehran

6) Mojtaba Rahimi, a political reporter arrested in his home in the city of Qazvin following tweets about several protesters killed in and around his hometown

7) Majid Tavakoli, political commentator and columnist, arrested in his Tehran home. 

8) Khosrow Kordpour, editor and reporter with the Kurdish News website Mukrian News Agency, brother of Masoud Kordpour 

9) Elnaz Mohammadi, political reporter with semi-state- state-run bi-monthly Andishepouya magazine; twin sister of Elahe Mohammadi 

10) Ahmadreza Halabisaz, photojournalist Halabisaz was arrested in downtown Tehran on September 22 while he was photographing the protests. A few hours after his arrest, he was permitted to call his family and tell them that he was taken to Evin prison, BBC Persian service reported. 

11) Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, blogger 

12) Batol Balali, a reporter with the state-run Pasargad weekly magazine, was arrested on September 22 in the southern city of Sirjan, in Kerman province while covering protests in her hometown. Ashkan News a local news website based in Kerman, reported that she was taken to Sirjan central prison. 

13) Samira Alinejad, a reporter with the state-run local news website SirjanRavi News, was also arrested while covering the same September 22 demonstration in Sirjan, according to Ashkan News. She was detained in Sirjan central prison. 

14) Jabbar Dastbaz, a Kurdish freelance reporter who reports on women’s issues, was arrested on September 22 in the city of Sanandaj in Kurdistan province. Sources told CPJ security forces beat him on the street in front of his house. 

15) Farshid Ghorbanpour, a political and literary columnist and commentator who writes for HaftSobh (7sobh) daily newspaper, was arrested in a 3 a.m. security force raid on his Tehran home on September 29. Sources told CPJ he was beaten and taken from the house with a bleeding head wound.

16) Mobin Balouch, a freelance reporter, was arrested on September 29 in the city of Baluchistan in the southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan province. 

17) Mohammad Javad Shaker Arani, the editor of Sharif University newspaper, was arrested after being summoned to the judiciary’s investigation office, his lawyer Mohammad-Ali Kamfirouzi said in a tweet on September 26. 

18) Alborz Nezami, a financial reporter for the business newspaper Donya-e-Eqtesad, was arrested at the newspaper’s newsroom in Tehran on October 2, the exile-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported. 

19) Safiyeh Qarabaghi, a freelance reporter who covers women’s issues in her hometown of Zanjan, was arrested on October 1, according to a tweet by her husband, who said she was taken to an undisclosed location. 

20) Shahram Azmodeh, editor-in-chief of Talesh monthly magazine, was arrested on October 2 in the northern city of Talesh in Gilan province, his lawyer, Ramin Safarnia, said in a tweet.

21) Ali Salem, editor of the “Thought” analysis section in the semi-reformist Shargh Daily, was arrested October 3 at his Tehran home. 

22) Sepideh Salarvand, an award-winning documentary maker, was arrested at her Tehran home on October 3. Her most recent project focused on Afghan child laborers in Iran. 

23) Fardin Kamangar, Kurdish editor-in-chief of Goran magazine and former head of the semi-state run Iran Media Association, was arrested in Sanandaj in Kurdistan province on October 7. According to IranWire, he was beaten by security forces during his arrest and was bleeding from a head wound. Kamangar previously reported for JameJam Daily

24) Saba Sherdoost, a freelance reporter, was arrested October 10 from her home in Tehran along with her husband, freelance reporter Milad Fadaee-Asl. 

25) Milad Fadaee-Asl, freelance reporter (arrested with his wife October 10, listed above) 

26) Freelance journalist Mandana Sadeghi was arrested on October 18 along with her husband Reza Mohammadi from the couple’s home in the southern city of Abadan in Khuzestan province, HRANA reported. They are both detained in the city of Ahvaz in the same province.

27) Freelance journalist Amir Ebtehaj was arrested on September 22 in the city of Birjand in South Khorasan province. He is in solitary confinement and authorities prevented him from communicating with his family for more than a month. 

28) Navid Jamshidi, the editor-in-chief of Tehran-based financial newspaper and news website Asia News, was arrested by security forces after midnight on September 24 in a raid on his Tehran home in the presence of his family, including his father, Iraj Jamshidi, a longtime journalist and reporter at Asia News, VOAreported. His father told VOA that Navid Jamshidi was not informed of any charges at the time of arrest and the security forces did not provide an arrest warrant. On October 14, his father told VOA that his son told him in a short phone call from Evin prison that he was treated violently during interrogations, and that he is worried about his son’s health. 

29) Hossein Esmaeili, a freelance photojournalist, was arrested, HRANA reported, quoting the Iranian Photojournalists Association.

30) Marzieh Amiri, a journalist with a semi-independent financial news website Way2pay, was arrested on October 31 at her home in Tehran and taken to ward 209 of Evin prison, Way2pay reported on Twitter. The outlet said she was able to make a phone call to her sister and inform her of her arrest. 

31) Mohammad Mollanouri, a freelance economic commentator and columnist, was arrested in his house in Tehran on October 29. 

32) Saeedeh Fathi, a freelance sports reporter, was arrested on October 16 at her home in Tehran and has been detained since then without charge, Shargh Daily reported on Twitter. 

33) Vahid Shamsoddinnezhad, a reporter with Arte News, was arrested on September 28 in the Kurdish city of Saqqez when he traveled there to cover protests. He is currently detained in Evin prison on unspecified charges, IranWirereported. 

34) Yaghma Fashkhami, a political reporter for the semi-independent news website Modara, was arrested November 2 after he was summoned by the Intelligence Ministry to its office, Shargh Daily reported. According to a tweet by his wife, Mona Moafi, who was also briefly detained, he was immediately transferred to solitary confinement in ward 209 of Evin Prison. 

35) Nazila Maroofian, a Kurdish Iranian investigative reporter for the state-run Rouydad24.ir news site, was arrested in a friend’s Tehran house on November 3 and immediately transferred to ward 209 of Tehran’s Evin Prison, HRANAreported. According to the report, Maroofian, who is from the city of Saqqez, was permitted to make a brief call to her family to inform them of her arrest.

36) Saman Ghazali, a freelance environment reporter, was arrested on September 30 in the Kurdish city of Mahabad in the West Azerbaijan province, the Persian service of Deutsche Welle reported. 

37) Somayeh Masror, a reporter for the state-run Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) was arrested in her hometown of Isfahan on October 8, according to the local state-run news website Sedayejoya.ir. 

38) Omid Tahan-Bidhendi, a freelance reporter who formerly reported for the state-run Mehr news agency, was arrested from his home after midnight on October 4, Journalism Is Not A Crime, an exile-run website, reported. 

39) Kianoosh Sanjari, a freelance journalist who previously reported for VOA’s Persian service in the U.S., was arrested on November 13, after appearing at a preliminary court inside Tehran’s Evin prison, the U.S. Congress-funded Radio Farda reported. Sanjari reported on the protests on his Twitter, according to CPJ’s review. (In Sanjari’s tweet about his release, he said that he has been charged with “spreading propaganda against the system.”)

40) Mehdi Amirpour, a freelance sports reporter, was arrested at 2 a.m. November 27 after security forces raided his home in Tehran, according to a tweet from his wife and a report in HRANA. The report said he contacted his family a few hours later and said he was detained in Evin Prison. Security forces confiscated his phone, laptop, and personal notebooks. 

41) Adel Karimi, a Kurdish Iranian photojournalist and documentary maker was arrested on October 11 in his hometown of Mahabad in the West Azerbaijan province, IranWire reported. HRANA also reported on his arrest, citing the Iranian Photojournalism Association. 

42) Reza Asadabadi, a journalist with ILNA who reports on labor issues, was arrested on November 23, HRANA reported.

43) Reporter Nastaran Farokheh, who covers social and political news for Shargh Daily was arrested November 28 from her home in Tehran. Security forces confiscated her personal devices, Shargh Daily reported. 

44) Milad Alavi, a reporter with Shargh Daily’s website, was arrested on January 1 at the prosecutor’s office in Evin Prison in Tehran, HRANA reported. According to the report, security forces raided his house on December 3 and confiscated his laptop and cellphone. 

45) Maryam Ghannad, a reporter with the official state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) was arrested on December 11 in Tehran and taken to ward 209 of Evin Prison, HRANA reported. 

46) Freelance reporter Hoda Tohidi, the sister of journalist Zahra Tohidi, was arrested September 20 in Tehran. 

47) Mehdi Bayk, the head of political desk at the reformist newspaper Etemaad was arrested on January 6 from his home in Tehran, Shargh Daily reported. 

Editor’s note: The spelling of the names of journalists Vahid Shamsoddinnezhad, Milad Fadaee-Asl, Siavash Soleimanipour, and Mohammad Javad Shaker Arani have been corrected.