Washington, D.C., July 11, 2023—Iranian authorities should release journalist Nazila Maroofian and drop any charges against her, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.
On Saturday, July 8, authorities arrested Maroofian, a Kurdish Iranian investigative reporter for the state-run news website Rouydad24, after she responded to a summons at a court in Evin prison in Tehran. Authorities then transferred her to an undisclosed location, and she has not contacted her family, friends, or colleagues since, according to a person familiar with the case who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.
Authorities previously arrested Maroofian on November 3, 2022, and imprisoned her for more than two months for her coverage of the nationwide anti-government protests that followed the death in morality-police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, in September 2022.
Authorities released Maroofian on bail on January 9, 2023. She was convicted in absentia of “spreading propaganda against the system” and “false news” on January 28 and was sentenced to two years in prison and a five-year ban on leaving the country, which she appealed. Authorities cited her interview with Amini’s father as part of their case against her.
The courts upheld Maroofian’s conviction, and the journalist was waiting to be summoned to serve her sentence, according to that source. CPJ could not confirm whether she was summoned to serve her sentence or because she is facing new charges.
“Iranian authorities must immediately release journalist Nazila Maroofian and drop any charges against her for her work,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “Members of the press must be allowed to live without constant fear that they will be harassed and detained.”
On July 4, security agents raided Maroofian’s home in Tehran and confiscated her cell phone, laptop, and other personal belongings. They also forced her to sign a summons notice stating that she would appear at the court in Evin prison on July 8.
CPJ’s emailed request for comment to Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York did not receive a reply.
Many journalists received harsh sentences related to those arrests, and about 80 were released on bail; authorities have recently begun summoning them to start their sentences.