Vida Rabbani

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Iranian security forces arrested Iranian journalist Vida Rabbani on September 24, 2022 and are holding her in solitary confinement in Qarchak prison, where she is serving a 10-year prison sentence dating from August 2022. 

Rabbani is a freelance reporter and political commentator covering local news for a variety of Tehran news outlets, including reformist newspaper Seda Weekly, and on her Twitter account, which has been suspended

Prior to her arrest she had reported on Twitter about protests in the wake of the September 16 death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police for allegedly violating the country’s conservative dress law. 

Rabbani, who is also a member of the reformist Union of Islamic Iran People Party, was arrested from her home in Tehran and was taken to solitary confinement in ward 209 of Evin Prison, under the supervision of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, according to a source familiar with a case who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisal. The source said that security officers beat Rabbani at the time of her arrest. 

Her lawyer, Ali Mojtahedzadeh confirmed the violent arrest in a tweet, saying that he had spoken with the journalist’s mother after she had a brief phone call with Rabbani. 

Mojtahedzadeh said in a November 2 tweet that Evin Prison guards beat Rabbani as she was transferred to Qarchak, a female-only prison in Tehran. 

According to the exile-run Iran-focused Human Rights Activists News Agency, Rabbani was sentenced to 10 years and four months in prison and banned from practicing journalism in August 2022, but was not taken into custody at that time. 

The source said that Rabbani has asthma. She has also not been provided her required medicine for underlying conditions that include foot inflammation, the source said.

Rabbani was previously imprisoned for one month in 2020. 

Authorities arrested dozens of journalists as the protests over Amini’s death spread across the country. Several of them were later released on bail. 

CPJ emailed Iran’s mission to the United Nations in late 2022 for comment on the cases of imprisoned Iranian journalists but received no response.