Iranian reporter who interviewed Mahsa Amini’s father is convicted without trial

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the two-year suspended prison sentence that was imposed without any trial on an Iranian journalist for interviewing the father of Mahsa Amini, the young woman who died in police custody last September after being arrested by the morality police.

Rouydad24 reporter Nazila Maroofian received the sentence from a revolutionary court on 28 January on charges of anti-government propaganda and spreading false news. “I have been sentenced to two years in prison, a fine of 15 million tomans [about 320 euros] and a five-year ban on leaving the country,” she reported on Twitter, adding that the court reached its decision without a hearing and in the absence of any defence lawyer.

“The imposition of this arbitrary sentence on a journalist who tried to shed light on the circumstances of Mahsa Amini’s death is extremely distressing,” said Jonathan Dagher, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “We call for an immediate end to these judicial travesties, which aim to gag journalists, and we call for the immediate release of the 38 Iranian journalists who are currently imprisoned.”

Maroofian was targeted by the authorities after her interview with Mahsa Amini’s father was published on the Mostaghel Online website on 19 October. Headlined Mahsa Amini’s father – ‘they’re lying,’” it challenged the official version that this young Kurdish Iranian woman died in custody as a result of pre-existing medical conditions.

Maroofian, who is from the same city as Amini (Saqqez, in Kurdistan province), reported that Amini died from a blow to the head after being taken into custody for violating Iran’s dress code. The Mostaghel Online website later removed her story. Arrested on 30 October, Maroofian was held for 71 days in Qarchak prison until finally released on 9 January, three weeks before her arbitrary sentence was announced.

Other women journalists who investigated Amini’s death are awaiting trial. The cases of Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, the first reporters to draw the public’s attention to her death, are particularly concerning. They have been held for nearly five months and are facing trial on charges that could carry the death penalty.

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