Niloofar Hamedi, a reporter for the Tehran-based semi-reformist Shargh Daily, is serving a 13-year prison sentence for anti-state charges linked to her reporting on nationwide protests in 2022.
Intelligence agents of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) arrested Hamedi on September 22, 2022 after she reported on the September 16 death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, who was in morality police custody for allegedly violating Iran’s conservative dress law.
Hamedi was among the first journalists to report on Amini’s hospitalization, according to a report by the exile-run news website IranWire. Hamedi covers human rights and politics.
Her lawyer at the time, Mohammad-Ali Kamfirouzi, tweeted on September 22, 2022 that security forces raided Hamedi’s house early in the morning and confiscated some of her personal devices before arresting her.
On October 22, 2023, after several closed door hearings, Hamedi was sentenced to 13 years in prison on charges of “colluding against national security for hostile states” including the United States and “acting against national security.” Elahe Mohammadi, another imprisoned Iranian journalist who helped break the story of Amini’s death, was sentenced to 12 years on the same charges.
The two journalists may face additional espionage charges. Iranian authorities issued a statement on October 28, 2022 accusing Hamedi and Mohammadi of being spies for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and of being the “primary sources of news for foreign media.” Hamedi and Mohammadi face the death penalty if formally charged and convicted.
CPJ is unable to determine the status of the journalist’s health in prison.
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, as of late 2023, were 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.