Journalists sentenced to heavy jail terms in Iran
29 August 2019
Three Iranian journalists were sentenced to heavy jail terms by the Tehran Revolutionary court in August. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK and Ireland joins with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to condemn these "outrageous" jail terms and urged the Iranian authorities to stop attacking journalists.
Marzieh Amiri, working for Shargh daily newspaper was sentenced by the Revolutionary Court to 148 lashes and 10 and a half years jail time on 13 August on charges of "assembly and collusion against the state" and "propaganda against the state" and "disrupting of public order". The journalist who was attending the World Labour day protest on 1 May to report for the Shargh newspaper was arrested and has been held in custody ever since. She can appeal against this sentence.
On 3 June, journalist Masoud Kazemi was sentenced to 4 and a half years in jail by the Revolutionary court on national security charges of "spreading misinformation" and "insulting the supreme leader and other Iranian officials", followed by a two-year ban from working as a journalist. The former editor-in-chief of the monthly political magazine Sedaye Parsi also collaborated with newspapers such as Shargh and Canon. He was arrested on 6 November 2018 and released after 6 days. He was re-arrested in May 2019 after the Revolutionary Court increased his bail to 85,000 dollars and has been imprisoned since. His lawyer appealed the primary court decision but on 10 August the appeal court confirmed the primary decision.
On 24 August satirist and writer Kiumars Marzban was sentenced to 23 years and nine months in prison by the Revolutionary Court on charges of "communication and cooperation with the hostile government of the USA", "community and collusion against the state", "insulting the sacred", "insulting Imam Khomeini (first leader of the Islamic Republic after the revolution)", and "insulting the authorities". The journalist had produced several short films and wrote for various media outside Iran. He worked for several years abroad and returned to Iran in 2017. On 26 August 2018, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps officers stormed his home and arrested him. They confiscated several of his personal items including his laptop and cellphone. He has been jailed at Evin Prison ever since.
Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:
"These jail sentences are outrageous and are typical of Iran's mistreatment of press freedom and freedom of expression. We demand a revision of Kazemi's judgment and appeals that lift the jail and lashes sentences for Amiri and Marzban."