Iranian journalist Kasra Nouri is serving a 12-year sentence on anti-state charges in Adel-Abad Prison near the central city of Shiraz. He was arrested in February 2018 while covering religious protests for the Majzooban-e-Noor website, which covers news about the Gonabadi Dervishes, a Sufi splinter group.
Iranian security forces arrested Nouri while he was covering the violent dispersal of religious protests in Tehran on February 19, 2018, according to his outlet Majzooban-e-Noor and the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
The clashes—which broke out between Tehran security forces and members of the Gonabadi Dervishes, who were protesting the arrest of one of their members—resulted in six fatalities, including five police officers, and over 300 arrests, according to news reports.
The last tweets on Nouri’s personal Twitter account are from February 19, 2018, posting coverage of the protests.
Farhad Nouri, the website’s editor-in-chief, told CHRI on February 23, 2018, that Kasra Nouri received a blow to the head that resulted in a coma, but did not offer more details.
Nouri was sentenced to 12 years in prison, 74 lashes, two years in exile in a remote city, a two-year ban on political, social and media activities, and a two-year ban on traveling outside Iran, U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported on July 30, 2018. Judge Mashaullah Ahmadzadeh, the head of Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, tried Nouri and issued the verdict against him in absentia, RFE/RL reported. In a July 28 post on Twitter, Majzooban-e-Noorsaid Nouri was convicted on a number of charges. An August 29 report by Human Rights Watch said those charges included "assembly and collusion against national security," "disrupting public order," "rebelling against officers on duty," and "propaganda against the state."
In late 2018, Nouri and other Dervishes spent 105 days in solitary confinement for participating in a sit-in protest, the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported on December 13, 2018.
To demonstrate against their perceived illegitimacy of the court, 23 Gonabadi Dervishes, including Nouri and five other Majzooban-e-Noor journalists, did not appeal their initial sentences. The appeals court therefore upheld their verdicts, according to Majzooban-e-Noor, media reports, and tweets from family members of the detained Dervishes. CPJ could not determine the exact date of the appeal hearing.
Nouri’s lawyer, Farshid Yadollahifarsi wrote in a tweet on September 5 that Nouri is facing new anti-state charges, including “colluding against national security,” in a case opened against him in Branch 14 of the Islamic Revolutionary court of Shiraz. The charge carries a sentence of six months to three years in prison, according to Iran’s judicial news website, Mizan.
Pooria Nouri told CPJ in a text that the case against Nouri stems from a political statement he drafted and signed along with two other prisoners: prominent human rights activist Narges Mohammadi and journalist Keyvan Samimi. The unpublished statement is addressed to Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and asks questions about prison conditions, political prisoners, and human rights in Iran.
Nouri was previously arrested and jailed after being accused of anti-regime activities. In 2013 he was sentenced to four years and four months in prison for "propaganda against the regime," "acting against national security," "insulting the Supreme Leader," and "membership in the Majzooban-e-Noor group," according to Majzooban-e-Noor. In early 2018, he was held for 11 days in Evin Prison, where he went on hunger strike, his mother told BBC Persian Service at the time.
CPJ emailed Iran’s mission to the United Nations in September 2022 for comment on Nouri’s case, but did not receive a response.