Iranian freelance journalist Nasim Soltanbeygi is serving a three-and-a-half year prison sentence on an anti-state conviction in Tehran’s Evin prison over her reporting on the 2022 protests over the death in morality-police custody of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini.
Soltanbeygi covers politics, social issues, and human rights news for various domestic news websites and newspapers including state-run semi-reformist, Shargh Daily. The reporter also shares news and commentary on her social media accounts such as X and Instagram.
Iranian authorities arrested Soltanbeygi on November 21, 2023 after she responded to a court summons at the Branch One of the Revolutionary Court to begin serving the sentence, which had been imposed several months earlier. She was immediately transferred to Evin prison.
Soltanbeygi was first arrested on January 11, 2023, in Tehran’s international airport as she was boarding a plane to leave the country. Security forces confiscated her personal items including a laptop, cellphone, and luggage and took her to an undisclosed location, the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported. She was later permitted to make a brief phone call to her mother to let her know that she was arrested.
Soltanbeygi was temporarily released on bail from solitary confinement in ward 2A of Evin prison, under the direct supervision of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)’s intelligence unit, on February 7.
In August 2023, she was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for spreading propaganda against the system and colluding and assembling against national security by Judge Iman Afshari of Branch 26 of Revolutionary Court over her protest coverage. The sentence, which included a two-year ban on leaving the country and a two-year ban on joining a political group or assembly, was upheld on appeal, HRANA reported.
According to a source who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisal, Soltanbeygi takes medication for insomnia and other health conditions due to several previous arrests for her journalism between 2006 and 2012. Prison authorities have denied her the medication.
Authorities are known to have arrested at least 95 journalists for covering the protest movement; most have been released on bail and are in the process of being charged or 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.