Nada Sabouri

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Iranian freelance sports journalist Nada Sabouri is serving a 3.5-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison on anti-state and public disturbance charges. She was arrested while covering a rally on behalf of political prisoners at the presidential office in Tehran in April 2014, and began her jail term in August 2020. 

In April 2014, authorities arrested Sabouri, then a reporter for the economic daily Kasbokar, while she was covering the rally; she was briefly held in Evin Prison and then released on bail pending trial, according to one of her former colleagues, who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, and a report by the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), a U.S.-based outlet that covers news in Iran.

In February 2015, Sabouri was tried and convicted of “colluding against national security” and “disturbing public order” by Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran, and was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison; that sentence was upheld on August 5, 2015, by the Tehran Appeals Court, according to the colleague and HRANA.

On August 7, 2020, Sabouri began her jail term at Tehran’s Evin Prison, five years after she was originally sentenced, according HRANA and news reports citing the journalist’s lawyer, Ali Mojtahedzadeh.

A source close to Sabouri, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisal from the government, told CPJ on September 23, 2020, that Sabouri had access to a public phone in Evin prison and could make daily calls to her family. That person said that Sabouri’s health was good, and she had not been infected with the coronavirus despite a prison outbreak. 

According to that source, Nada’s husband, Sohrab Salehin, a former reporter and now a sports blogger, accompanied Sabouri to the April 2014 rally and was also convicted and sentenced to 3.5 years in prison, but had not been summoned to begin his jail term as of late 2020. 

CPJ called the office of the Tehran judiciary for comment, but no one answered. In September 2020, CPJ also emailed Alireza Miryousefi, the head of the media office of Iran’s U.N. mission, to inquire about the case of imprisoned Iranian journalists including Nada Sabouri, but did not receive any reply.