Iranian journalist Nejat Bahrami is serving a one-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison following a conviction of “spreading propaganda against the system” and “colluding to disturb the public order” for his writing and commentary critical of Iran’s political establishment. He began his sentence on May 18, 2020, following a conviction the previous year.
Bahrami is a freelance columnist writing political, economic, and cultural commentary for publications including the Iran Daily and Etemad newspapers, and the weekly Tejarat-e Farda and Seda magazines; he also shared news and commentary on his Telegram channel, according to a CPJ review of the channel and the journalist, who communicated with CPJ via email.
Security agents arrested Bahrami on December 5, 2018, in relation to his writing in Iranian publications and on social media, including his Telegram channel, and detained him for one week before releasing him on bail due to health complications including high blood pressure, according to news reports.
On August 18, 2019, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran convicted Bahrami of “spreading propaganda against the system” and “colluding to disturb the public order” and sentenced him to one year in prison and a two-year ban on any media activities, joining any political or social factions, and using smartphones, according to those reports.
After his August 2019 conviction, Bahrami filed an appeal which remained in the courts until April 12, 2020, when Branch 36 of Tehran Appeals Court upheld his sentence, excluding the restrictions on smart phones, he wrote on his Twitter account. On May 5, wrote on Twitter that he had received a written notice from the judiciary summoning him to prison within five days.
On May 18, Bahrami arrived at Tehran’s Evin Prison to begin serving his sentence, he told CPJ.
In September 2020, Bahrami was granted a brief furlough from prison due to his health issues and the spread of COVID-19 in Evin Prison, he told CPJ in an email on September 17. He said that his request for a further furlough had been denied and he was required to return to Evin Prison on September 21. CPJ emailed him after that date, but did not receive any response.
Bahrami told CPJ that authorities would not allow him to bring a blood pressure cuff into prison to monitor his heart condition.
CPJ was unable to contact Iran’s Ministry of Justice or the judiciary of Tehran province via their websites, which were not functioning in late 2020. CPJ emailed Alireza Miryousefi, the head of the media office at Iran’s mission to the United Nations in late September 2020 for comment on the cases of imprisoned Iranian journalists including Bahrami, but did not receive a response. CPJ also called the Tehran judiciary office for comment, but no one answered.