Elahe Mohammadi, a reporter for the Tehran-based state-run Hammihan newspaper, is serving a 12-year prison sentence for anti-state charges linked to her reporting on nationwide protests in 2022.
Intelligence agents of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) arrested Mohammadi on September 22, 2022.
Mohammadi covers politics and human rights and was among the first journalists to cover the September 16 death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, after morality police arrested her for allegedly violating the country’s conservative dress law.
According to a tweet by her then-lawyer Mohammad-Ali Kamfirouzi, security forces broke the door to the journalist’s home in Tehran and confiscated her laptop, books, phone, and press card before arresting her.
On October 22, 2023, after several closed door hearings and three months after he trial was completed, Mohammadi was sentenced to 12 years in prison on charges of “colluding against national security for hostile states” including the United States and “acting against national security.” Niloofar Hamedi, another journalist who helped break the story of Amini’s death, was sentenced to 13 years in prison on the same charges.
The two journalists may face additional espionage charges. Iranian authorities issued a statement on October 28, 2022 accusing Hamedi and Mohammadi of being spies for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and of being the “primary sources of news for foreign media.” Hamedi and Mohammadi face the death penalty if formally charged and convicted.
Mohammadi’s husband tweeted in August that she should have been hospitalized for an emergency ultrasound for an unspecified medical issue, but she didn’t receive the necessary care because prison authorities never transferred her.
On February 5, authorities arrested Mohammadi’s twin, Elnaz Mohammadi, head of the social issues desk at the state-run Hammihan newspaper, after she responded to a summons to answer questions at a court in Tehran’s Evin prison, according to news reports. She was released on bail on February 12, according to state-run newspaper Etemadonline.
Authorities are known to have detained at least 95 journalists in the wake of nationwide protests following Amini’s death. The majority have been released on bail and are in the process of being charged and sentenced.
CPJ emailed Iran’s mission to the United Nations in late 2023 for comment on the cases of imprisoned Iranian journalists but received no response.