Mohammad Zare-Foumani

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Iranian journalist Mohammad Zare-Foumani is serving a five-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison on anti-state charges over his coverage of nationwide protests in 2022. 

Zare-Foumani is the publisher of state-run newspaper Sedaye Eslahat, where he also serves as a columnist. The newspaper covered protests following 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. Zare-Foumani also commented on the protests on his Instagram page and on X

In a video on Instagram, the journalist, who is also a cleric, describes being summoned to the Intelligence Ministry on October 9, 2022. Text accompanying the video indicates that he was taken to ward 209 of Evin prison in Tehran and allowed to make a brief phone call to his family before being placed in solitary confinement. 

On November 13, 2022, Zare-Foumani was tried in the Special Clerical Court, a court independent of Iran’s judiciary under the direct supervision of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Zare-Foumani was tried in the clerical court due to his work as a cleric, but the charges against him related to his journalistic activity. 

On December 13, 2022, the journalist was sentenced to five years in prison, a cash fine, and domestic exile to Kerman province for colluding against national security, false news, and disturbing national order, according to the state-run Ensafnews

According to an October 2 post on his X account, Zare-Foumani was diagnosed with stomach cancer, has undergone surgery and should be receiving chemotherapy. The post didn’t say if he was receiving the treatment. 

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.