Rahil Mousavi

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Iranian photojournalist Rahil Mousavi has been held in detention since November 2021. Authorities have not disclosed her location, any charges against her, or the reason for her arrest. 

Mousavi is a freelance photojournalist who frequently posts photos depicting Arab Iranians struggling with poverty and climate issues on her Instagram account, where she has about 5,300 followers. She has contributed photos to UNICEF, the International Federation of Photographic Art, and the New York-based Middle East Images photo agency, according to her Instagram bio.

A source familiar with her detention told CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal, that Mousavi “publishes most of her photos on social media such as Instagram, as local media outlets refuse to publish her content for fear that it will create problems for them with Iran’s censors.”

On November 9, 2021, security forces with the Iranian Intelligence Ministry arrested Mousavi in the southwestern city of Khorramshahr, in the majority Arab province of Khuzestan, and took her to an undisclosed location, according to reports by the U.S.-based Human Rights Activists News Agency and the exile-run news website IranWire.

Authorities have not specified the reason for her arrest or disclosed any charges against her, according to those reports. CPJ was unable to determine where she is being held or her status in detention. 

In November 2021, CPJ called the office of the Khorramshahr judiciary for comment, but no one answered. CPJ also emailed the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York, but did not receive a response. 

Mousavi was previously arrested by agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on December 8, 2016, while she covered a street protest in Khorramshahr over water rights, according to Journalism Is Not A Crime, an exile-run website.