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Washington, D.C., November 30, 2023—Iranian authorities must immediately release journalist Mohammad Mir-Ghasemzadeh and cease jailing journalists for simply doing their job, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.

On Monday, security agents with the Islamic Republic’s Intelligence Ministry arrested Mir-Ghasemzadeh, a local reporter in the northern city of Sowme’eh Sara in Gilan province, and took him to a detention center in the city of Rasht, according to news reports and a source who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity citing fear of government reprisal.

As of Thursday, authorities had not disclosed the reason behind Mir-Ghasemzadeh’s detention or any potential charges. Mir-Ghasemzadeh was recently working on a series of reports exposing the alleged financial corruption of a parliament member from Gilan province, according to that source and tweets by the New York-based Independent Center on Human Rights in Iran.

“Iranian authorities are desperate to silence their critics and have now imprisoned local reporter Mohammad Mir-Ghasemzadeh, who was reporting on alleged official corruption,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Authorities must realize that jailing journalists and critical voices won’t help them in hiding Iran’s difficult realities and release Mir-Ghasemzadeh and all jailed journalists immediately.”

Mir-Ghasemzadeh’s health is of particular concern following reports that he was allegedly beaten in custody, according to those sources.

In recent weeks, authorities have ramped up legal pressure on many journalists throughout the country: 

  • Authorities arrested freelance journalist Nasim Soltanbeygi on November 21 and immediately transferred her to Evin prison to serve a 3.5-year prison sentence for spreading propaganda against the system and colluding against national security. Soltanbeygi reported on the death in morality-police custody of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini.
  • On November 20, Parisa Salehi, a reporter with the financial newspaper Donya-e-Eqtesad, was indicted for writing about “nationalism” on X, formerly known as Twitter, according to her social media post and the exile-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA). She was temporarily released on bail.
  • Freelance reporter Saeedeh Shafiei began serving her prison sentence of three years and six months in Tehran’s Evin prison on November 19, HRANA reported.
  • Shaghayegh Moradi, a reporter with the Art and Culture magazine Bukhara, was arrested on October 30 in her home in Tehran on unspecified charges and detained in Evin prison for about a month before being released on bail on November 25, HRANA reported.

CPJ’s email to Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York requesting comment on Mir-Ghasemzadeh’s arrest did not receive any reply.

Source of original article: Middle East & North Africa Archives – Committee to Protect Journalists (cpj.org).
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