Two journalists were given prison sentences by an Iranian Revolutionary Court for reporting on the death of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian who died while in custody last year. This was reported by state media on Sunday.
In September of last year, the death of 22-year-old Amini occurred while being held by the morality police for supposedly breaking the Islamic dress code. This sparked widespread protests throughout Iran, posing a significant challenge to the country’s religious leaders in a way not seen in many years.
IRNA, the state news agency of Iran, reported that Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi were given prison sentences of 13 and 12 years, respectively. They were charged with collaborating with the U.S. government and engaging in activities that threatened national security.
The charges have been denied by the lawyers representing the two women.
According to IRNA, they were each sentenced to seven and six years for working with the enemy US government. Additionally, they received five years in prison for threatening national security and one year for spreading propaganda against the government.
Hamedi was arrested for photographing Amini’s parents embracing at a hospital in Tehran, where their daughter was comatose. Mohammadi was detained for reporting on Amini’s funeral in her hometown of Saqez, where the protests originated.
The “issued judgments” mentioned by IRNA can be challenged through the appeals process.
The United States denounced the verdicts.
Deputy Special Envoy for Iran Abram Paley expressed his condemnation of the sentences given to the jailed individuals, stating that they should not have been imprisoned. He also criticized the Iranian regime for their actions, claiming that they are afraid of the truth and use imprisonment as a means to silence journalists. This statement was shared on social media.
If verified, the duration of the women’s detention at Evin prison, known for housing many political detainees, will be subtracted from their sentences, as stated by the judiciary’s Mizan news agency.
In October of last year, Iran’s intelligence ministry made a statement accusing Mohammadi and Hamedi of working as agents for the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States.
Mizan reported that there is documented proof of Hamedi and Mohammadi intentionally having connections with specific entities and individuals associated with the U.S. government, according to Reuters.