Two female Iranian journalists will spend around a month behind bars as part of a three-year partly suspended prison sentence for “conspiracy” and “collusion,” local media reported on Sunday. Under the sentence, Negin Bagheri and Elnaz Mohammadi will serve one-fortieth of the term, or less than a month, in prison, their lawyer Amir Raisian told the reformist Ham Mihan daily newspaper, where Mohammadi works.
“The remaining period is suspended over five years,” during which time they will be required to take “a professional ethics training” and “prohibited from leaving the country,” the lawyer added. Raisian did not elaborate on whether the verdict can be appealed, and the report did not detail the allegations against the reporters.
Mohammadi’s sister, Elahe, who also works for Ham Mihan, has since September 2022 been in prison after reporting on the funeral of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died in police custody.
The death on September 16, 2022 of Amini, an Iranian Kurd, came after her arrest for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s dress code, triggering months-long nationwide protests. Foreign-based rights groups have reported multiple arrests ahead of the anniversary of Amini’s death.
Bagheri works for the unaffiliated Haft-e Sobh newspaper. Elnaz Mohammadi was arrested and kept in Evin prison for a week in February. The reason for her detention was not clear. Last year’s demonstrations saw hundreds of people killed, including dozens of security personnel, and thousands arrested in connection with what officials labelled as foreign instigated “riots”. Seven men have been executed in protest-related cases involving killings and other violence against security forces.
Local media reported last month that authorities in Iran have questioned or arrested more than 90 journalists since the protests. On Wednesday, an Iranian news agency reported that journalist Nazila Maroufian, who defied Iran’s strict dress code and was freed on bail earlier in August, has been rearrested for not wearing the headscarf in public.