Majid Tavakoli

Beats Covered:
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Iranian journalist Majid Tavakoli is serving a six-year sentence in prison on anti-state charges. Tavakoli has been banned from writing and publishing in state-run newspapers for the past decade, though he continued writing for blogs, exiled media, and social media. 

Tavakoli is a commentator on local news for a variety of news websites. A source familiar with his case who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisal, said the journalist commented on national protests about the death of Mahsa Amini in morality police custody on social media in 2022.

Tavakoli began serving his six-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison on October 7, 2023 when he was arrested after responding to a summons, Shargh Daily reported. 

Iranian security forces first arrested Tavakoli on September 22, 2022 from his home in Tehran, according to the source, who said he was beaten and arrested in the presence of his family, including his young child. He was released on bail on December 20, 2022. 

On July 15, 2023, he was tried at Branch 28 of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court. He was sentenced to six years in prison for “colluding and assembly against the national security,” and “spreading propaganda against the system,” VOA Persian service reported. Tavakoli’s sentence, which was upheld on appeal, includes a two-year ban on social media activity, a two-year ban on leaving the country, and two years of domestic exile in a remote city upon his release.

CPJ was unable to determine the status of the journalist’s health in prison.

Tavakoli was previously imprisoned in 2007 when he was editor of the Amirkabir University of Technology student newspaper Khat-e Sefer. 

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.