Iran steps up crackdown on journalists and activists

Activist Narges Mohammadi and journalist Nazanin Khosravani each jailed for six years in Iran

So far, it has been a dreadful week for journalists and activists in Iran.

According to the opposition website,, a Tehran appeals court has confirmed the jailing of prominent Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, albeit reducing it from 11 years to six.

The 39-year-old, the deputy head of Iran’s Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC), was taken seriously ill in 2010 after being kept in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin prison for a month. Since her arrest, she has developed an undiagnosed epilepsy-like disease which causes her to lose control over her muscles temporarily during the day.

In September 2011, she was sentenced to 11 years after being convicted on three charges: acting against the national security, membership of the DHRC and propaganda against the regime. Read Amnesty’s report on her jail sentence here.

Mohammadi, a mother of two and winner of the 2009 Alexander Langer award for her human rights activities, especially for her efforts for an end to death penalty for juvenile offenders in Iran, must now endure a six year jail term. On Sunday, another human rights activist and lawyer, Abdolfattah Soltani, was sentenced to 18 years after being found guilty of anti-government propaganda. Among many of Soltani’s charges is “endangering national security” by accepting a German human rights prize.

Kaleme also reported that Iranian journalist Nazanin Khosravani who has been sentenced to 6 six years went to Evin prison on Monday to endure her jail term. According to the opposition website, the Green Voice of Freedom, Khosravani has worked with banned pro-reform newspapers such as Bahar, Norooz, Dorane Emrouz, Kargozaran and Sarmayeh.

Another Iranian journalist, Ali Mousavi Khalkhali, was picked up by security officials on Friday, his cousin has confirmed to BBC Persian. He is reported to have been arrested on charges related to propaganda against the regime. According to Reporters Without Borders, Mousavi Khalkhali has worked for the Irdiplomacy news website and is “a nephew of Ayatollah Hakim, a senior Shiite cleric of Iranian origin in Iraq”.

Read the RSF’s recent report on the Iranian regime’s crackdown on journalists and media freedom defenders here.

And finally, Amnesty has published a postcard calling for the release of human rights lawyer and women right’s activist Nasrin Sotoudeh. See Amnesty’s postcard here and read our latest news about Sotoudeh here.

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from Saeed Kamali Dehghan


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