Washington, D.C., October 22, 2023—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the decision to sentence journalists Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi to 13 and 12 years in jail respectively, and reiterates its call for their immediate release.
Hamedi, a reporter with the state-run Shargh Daily, and Mohammadi, head of the social issues desk at the state-run Hammihan newspaper, received seven years and six years, respectively, for collaborating with the hostile U.S. government, Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported. They were each given a further five years in prison for “acting against the national security” and a year for propaganda.
“The convictions of Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi are a travesty and serve as a stark testament to the erosion of freedom of speech and the desperate attempts of the Iranian government to criminalize journalism,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.
The journalists have 20 days to file an appeal. If the appeals court upholds their verdicts, Hamedi will be required to serve a minimum of seven years in prison, and Mohammadi must serve at least six.
Hamedi received the verdict on her birthday as she was on her way to a family visit, according to the journalist’s husband, who posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Hamedi and Mohammadi have been in pretrial detention since September 22, 2022, after they reported on the September 16 death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, who was in morality police custody for allegedly violating Iran’s conservative dress law. They were among the first journalists to report on Amini’s hospitalization.
Iran ranked as the world’s worst jailer of journalists in CPJ’s 2022 prison census, which documented those behind bars as of December 1. Overall, authorities are known to have detained at least 95 journalists in the wake of nationwide protests following Amini’s death.