Amir-Abbas Azarmvand

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Iranian journalist Amir-Abbas Azarmvand is serving a four-year, four-month prison term on an anti-state conviction. 

Azarmvand is a reporter covering labor union and financial news for the state-run financial newspaper SMT. He also shares news and commentary on his personal Twitter account, which has been deactivated since his arrest.

Authorities initially arrested Azarmvand on September 1, 2021, for “colluding against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the system,” according to exile-run news websites  HRANA and IranWire; he was released on bail on September 23. 

According to a colleague who spoke to CPJ at the time of the arrest on the condition of anonymity, the security agents showed Azarmvand an arrest warrant citing his latest critical reporting forSMTon the “difficult economic situation of union workers and some of the new economic decisions by the government.”

According to IranWire,  security agents searched his family’s house and confiscated Azarmvand’s laptop, cellphone, and some books and transferred him to ward 209 of Evin Prison, which is run by the intelligence ministry, before releasing him on bail September 23. 

In January, Judge Iman Afshari of Branch 26 of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced Azarmvand, to four years and four months in prison on those charges, according to HRANA, which said he was not immediately summoned to prison to serve that sentence.

On March 8, authorities arrested Azarmvand along with a larger group of demonstrators at a march for International Women’s Day in Tehran; once in custody, authorities took him to Evin Prison to serve his sentence from the previous year according to the HRANA report and a person familiar with the case, who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.

Both IranWire and HRANA reported that Azarmvand had been previously arrested in 2018 and 2020 for his journalistic work, but provided no further details. 

Azarmvand’s right shoulder was injured during his arrest in March. He was scheduled to have surgery on his shoulder in late July but according to the source familiar with the case, security forces failed to transfer him to Tehran’s Talaghani hospital, where he was supposed to receive an X-ray prior to the surgery. Azarmvand was not given a reason.

On October 15, prison guards beat Azarmvand with a baton and shot pellets at him from close range during the fire at Evin prison in which many prisoners tried to flee, according to a source familiar with the incident who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal. He was taken to Rajaei-Shahr Prison in the Karaj province that same night and has been denied medical care while in critical condition, the source said. 

CPJ emailed the head of the media office at Iran’s Mission to the United Nations for comment on Azarmvand’s case in September 2022, but did not receive any response.