Human Interest

Iran blocks news outlet, jails journalists as anniversary of Amini’s death approaches

Tehran, Sep 5 (EFE).- Iranian authorities have blocked an online newspaper and sentenced two journalists to prison in recent days, less than two weeks before the first anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, which sparked a wave of large protests in the Persian country.

Digital media outlet Entekhab, close to the reformist faction, has been inaccessible since Monday night, the newspaper wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

“Access to the internet address was blocked a few moments ago following the issuance of the decision to ban the selection site by the order of the press supervision board,” the newspaper wrote in the post.

The outlet’s editor Mostafa Faghihi told local media that he thought the ban was probably due to an article his outlet ran from another news agency that quoted the Friday prayer leader of Shiraz as saying that President Ebrahimi Raisi has created 20 million jobs, Iran Front Page reported.

It added that Fars news agency, managed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said that the outlet was blocked for an editorial titled “Auctioning off the Iran brand: Why has Iran’s foreign policy weakened so much?”

In addition to the ban on Entekhab, two women journalists, Negin Bagheri and Elnaz Mohammadi, were given partly suspended three-year prison sentences last week for “conspiracy” and “collusion,” of which they will have to serve about one month.

The rest of their sentences were suspended over five years, during which they must take professional ethics training and are prohibited from leaving the country, Iranian media reported, citing their lawyer.

The allegations against the reporters were not elaborated on.

Mohammadi is the twin sister of Elaheh Mohammadi, 36, who reported on Amini’s funeral in her Kurdistan hometown of Saqqez, for which Elaheh is on trial.

Elaheh has been charged with “collaborating with an enemy government,” “assembly and collusion against national security” and “propaganda against the state,” charges that could carry the death penalty if she is convicted, according to activists.

Niloufar Hamedi, 30, the journalist who brought Amini’s case to light also faces the same charges, and is awaiting sentencing.

As of mid-April, at least 95 journalists had been arrested in the wake of the months-long nationwide protests, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, of which 72 had been released on bail.

Amini, 22, died in custody of the country’s morality police on Sep. 16, 2022 after she was arrested for not wearing her hijab correctly.

Her death sparked the huge protests, which died down after a crackdown by security forces that reportedly caused at least 500 deaths, thousands of arrests and in which seven protesters were executed, one of them in public.

Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have denounced that the Iranian authorities are arresting activists and putting pressure on the families of those killed in the protests due to the proximity of the anniversary. EFE


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