Kamiar Fakour

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Iranian freelance journalist Kamiar Fakour is serving a combined three-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison.

Fakour covers the environment and labor issues for several local news outlets, including the state-run economic newspaper SMT.

Iranian security forces arrested Fakour and his wife, journalist Sarvenaz Ahmadi, on May 10, 2023 from a friend’s house in Tehran. The two were taken to Evin prison to begin serving outstanding prison sentences, the exile-run Radio Zamaneh reported.

Fakour had used X to cover protests following the September 16, 2022 death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, after morality police arrested her for allegedly violating the country’s conservative dress law. CPJ reviewed the tweets at the time, but Fakour’s account has since disappeared from the social media platform.

Security forces first arrested Fakour and Ahmadi from their Tehran home on November 6, 2022. Security forces raided their home, confiscated their personal devices, and took them to an undisclosed location, according to a source with knowledge of the arrest who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal. The couple were released on bail on December 7, 2022, the source told CPJ.

Fakour and Ahmadi were sentenced on January 3, in Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court by Judge Abolqasem Salavati, according to the exile-run Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA). Fakour was sentenced to one year in prison for “spreading propaganda against the system” and “colluding against the national security,” while Ahmadi was sentenced to six years on the same charges. Their lawyers were prevented from attending the sentencing trial. They were not taken into custody to serve their sentences until May. 

According to a report by RadioZamaneh, Fakour had another outstanding three-year sentence dating from August 2022 for “spreading propaganda against the system” and “fake news.” Now that he is in custody he will start serving that sentence first, and then serve the sentence over his reporting on the Amini protests next. 

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 October 2023 for comment on the case of imprisoned Iranian journalists but received no response.