Iran carries on the jailing of women journalists : RSF calls for the release of Nasim Sultan Beigi and Saeedeh Shafiei

Sentenced to three and a half years in prison, freelance journalists Saeedeh Shafiei and Nasim Sultan Beigi are paying, like many of their colleagues in the country, the price of their duty to inform, which they exercised by covering the popular uprising "Woman. Life. Freedom". Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for their unconditional release.

Saeedeh Shafiei went to Evin prison to begin serving her sentence on 19 November, while Nasim Sultan Beigi joined her there two days later. The two journalists were tried at a public hearing on 3 July and were convicted on 31 July of colluding, participating in illegal gatherings, and disseminating anti-government propaganda.

Shafiei and Beigi had been released provisionally on 7 February 2023 after being arrested the previous month for covering the huge wave of “Woman, Life,Freedom” street protests that were triggered by Kurdish student Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody on 16 September 2022. Ten other journalists arrested since the start of the protests are still in prison.

“The Islamic Republic continues to exact its revenge against journalists who, since 16 September 2022, have fulfilled their duties in serving the public’s right to news and information. Nasim Sultan Beigi and Saeedeh Shafiei are courageous reporters, like their ten colleagues who are also being held for covering the protests.They deserve to be celebrated, not imprisoned. We demand their immediate and unconditional release.

Jonathan DAGHER
Head of RSF’s Middle East desk

As well as receiving jail terms, Shafiei and Beigi have also been banned from travelling abroad or joining any group or organisation for two years after their release from prison. Their lawyers appealed against their convictions but they were upheld on 18 September.

The imprisonment of Shafiei and Beigi comes exactly a month after two other women journalists, Ham Mihan reporter Elaheh Mohammadi and Shargh Daily reporter Niloofar Hamedi, were sentenced to 12 and 13 years in prison, respectively. With Vida Rabbani, a freelancer serving a seven-year sentence, and Narges Mohammadi, a writer and journalist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2023, they bring the number of women journalists currently in prison in Iran to six.

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