By Pooya Stone
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said it is alarmed by a wave of arrests and interrogations of female journalists in Iran since the beginning of August, which makes Iran the world’s biggest jailer of female journalists, with ten currently being held.
Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Iran/Afghanistan desk, said: “Already one of the world’s five biggest jailers of journalists, Iran is now holding more women in connection with their journalistic activities than any other country in the world. We call on Javaid Rehman, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, to intervene with the utmost urgency to obtain their release and to address the disastrous press freedom situation in this country.”
The watchdog then released information about the imprisoned women.
Jafari, a photojournalist who specialised in covering theatre and cinema, was arrested, supposedly on the charge of “insulting Islam’s sacred values”, on August 3, at her Tehran home by plainclothes agents who seized her data storage devices and CDs.
Her family has not heard from her since and don’t know where she’s being held, but they believe she is being pressured by Revolutionary Guard intelligence agents to make a confession.
Jafari was previously arrested in February 2010 and held for 28 days.
Amiri, a journalist for Shargh newspaper, was arrested while reporting outside an intelligence police station in Tehran on 1 May and is charged with “conspiracy and assembly against national security,” “anti-government propaganda” and “disturbing public order”.
The court refused to release her on bail on August 13 and her family say she was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 148 lashes.
Mohammadi, a student and member of the editorial board of the student newspaper Game, was taken to prison on August 4, despite being out on bail. The court raised her bail from 400 million tomans (10,000 Euros) but the bail amount was later raised to 1 billion tomans (212,000 Euros).
She was originally arrested on December 4 and appeared in court with the Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane company workers, whose strike she had covered.
Allahyari, as well as her husband Amir Hossein Mohammadi Far, are Mohammadi’s colleagues at Game and are also in jail for reporting on the strike and the mistreatment of the jailed workers.
Mazloom was arrested by intelligence ministry agents on July 22, for the “crime” of telling the public what her imprisoned son - Soheil Arabi, the recipient of RSF’s 2017 Press Freedom Prize in the citizen-journalist category – is being subjected to in prison.
Mohammadi, a journalist and human rights activist, was arrested in May 2015 and sentenced to 16 years in prison, of which she has to serve at least 10.
Shahidi, a reporter and editor of the Paineveste blog, was arrested in June 2018 and sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison for revealing the lack of justice in Iran and criticising judiciary chief Sadegh Amoli Larijani.
Sepideh Moradi, Avisha Jalaledin and Shima Entesari
These three have been held since February 2018 and were sentenced to five years in jail. They worked for the Sufi community news website Majzooban Noor.
Iran is ranked 170th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.