Iranian photojournalist Yalda Moaiery was arrested by the country’s anti-riot police on September 19, 2022 while she was documenting street protests in Tehran following 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. Moaiery is being held without charge.
Moaiery’s photographs have been published by international magazines and newspapers such as TIME, Newsweek, Le Monde, and El Pais, according to the biography on her website. She also took photographs for local Iranian publications.
Moaiery wrote on Instagram Stories that she was beaten and arrested while covering protests on Hejab street in downtown Tehran. (CPJ reviewed the story before its automatic 24-hour expiry.) She was initially taken to Qarchak Prison, a female-only detention facility in Varamin, southeast of Tehran.
According to the exile-run news website IranWire, which obtained an audio recording of a phone call Moaiery made from prison, the journalist said conditions there were “horrible,” with more than 100 women crammed into a tight space. “There are only three bathrooms for their use and prison authorities prescribe many tranquilizers for the prisoners,” she said.
According to the journalist’s father, Gholamreza Moaiery, who spoke to CPJ via phone, Moaiery was transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran on October 14 and was immediately placed in solitary confinement in ward 2A, under the supervision of an intelligence unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Gholamreza Moaiery said he spoke to his daughter briefly and that she said she was violently interrogated, though did not provide further details.
He said the journalist has been denied legal representation and that she is physically fine but suffering emotionally.
According to her father, Moaiery hasn’t been able to contact her family or hire a lawyer yet and the family is deeply concerned about her wellbeing.
Authorities arrested dozens of journalists in Iran as the protests over Amini’s death spread across the country. Several 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.