Sarvenaz Ahmadi

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Iranian journalist Sarvenaz Ahmadi is serving a six-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison, on an anti-state conviction for her social media coverage of nationwide anti-state protests that began in September 2022. 

Ahmadi, a freelance journalist, covers labor union issues, politics, and forced child labor for newspapers including the semi-independent social and political news website Meidaan. She has also written for the state-run economic SMT newspaper. 

Iranian security forces arrested Ahmadi and her husband, journalist Kamiar Farkour, on May 10, 2023 from a friend’s house in Tehran and took them to Evin prison to begin serving prison sentences that had been issued in January, the exile-run RadioZamaneh reported.

Ahmadi covered the demonstrations on her personal account on X and was immediately arrested, according to a source with knowledge of the arrest who spoke on the condition of anonymity citing fear of reprisal. Her account later disappeared from the social media platform. 

She was released and then rearrested in November 2022, along with her husband. Security forces raided their home, confiscated their personal devices, and took them to an undisclosed location, according to the source. The couple was released on bail on December 7, 2022, the source told CPJ.

Ahmadi and Fakour were sentenced on January 3 in Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court by Judge Abolqasem Salavati, according to the exile-run Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA). Ahmadi was sentenced to six years for “spreading propaganda against the system” and “colluding against the national security,” while Fakour was sentenced to one year on the same charges. Their lawyers were prevented from attending the sentencing trial. They were not taken into custody to serve their sentences until May. 

Exile-based Iran Wire reported that Ahmadi suffers from regular panic attacks in prison and has fainted several times, but that she has not received treatment outside the 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 are 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.