Agents from Iran’s Intelligence Ministry arrested Ghazali on November 29, 2014, and transferred him to Evin Prison, according to the reformist news website Saham News. He was charged with “publishing lies with the intent to create public anxiety,” the website said.
Ghazali was the managing editor of two news websites, Baztab Emrooz and Ayandeh Online, which published stories on alleged government corruption. In May 2013, authorities banned Baztab Emrooz, accusing it of publishing false news, according to news reports.
On April 27, 2013, in the lead-up to the 2013 presidential election in Iran, Baztab Emrooz had published an audio file that it claimed supported allegations of elections fraud during the 2009 presidential election. The next day, Ghazali was summoned and arrested. He was released on June 18, 2013, three days after Hassan Rouhani was elected president, according to the reformist news website Kaleme.
Several of the website’s staff members also worked for Ayandeh Online, which was banned in March 2014 with no reasons given, according to the reformist website JARAS.
In March 2014, after Ayandeh Online was shut down, Ghazali began publishing on his Facebook page stories on alleged government corruption, including embezzlement, according to news reports. Rooz Online reported that on August 15, 2014, Ghazali published a list on his personal Facebook page of more than 700 individuals who allegedly received illegal scholarships to study abroad in 2012. The journalist said he would continue to publish the names of more than 3,000 individuals who received illegal scholarships during the Ahmadinejad era.