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Unions call for release of journalist jailed in Iran

5 September 2018

On Monday 20 August, Amir Hossein Miresmaeili, was sentenced by a Teheran tribunal to "10 years of prison, 2 years of deprivation activity in the media and cyberspace, 2 years of banning from leaving the country and a cash penalty", according to his lawyer.

The NUJ backs the calls made by the International Federation of Journalists and the Association of Iranian journalists (AOIJ) in strongly condemning this sentence and demanding Amir’s immediate release.

The journalist was charged with insulting the government and judicial officials, the "Holy imams of Shia" and publishing lies to disturb public opinion as a result of two tweets he posted in April and July.

Amir Hossein Miresmaeli works for Jahan Sanaat, an economic newspaper in Iran. He was first arrested on 4 April 2018 for a tweet in which he allegedly mocked Shia Imam Reza who is buried in Mashhad city and questioned why the government does not allow music concerts in the city.

The judiciary claimed that the tweet was an "insult to Shia Imam". The journalist deleted his tweet and apologised, saying it was not meant to offend anyone, but was later arrested. He served one month in jail before being released on bail.

On 12 July he was arrested again for publishing another tweet in which he called on people to send supplies and food to Gaza. This time, the court set a 200 million toman bail (around 40.000,00 euros). His lawyer has said he will appeal the sentence.

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:

"The Iranian authorities must stop their campaign of harassment and intimidation against the media. Iranian journalists must have the right to express their critical views without fearing for their safety or freedom".

The NUJ continues to campaign in support of Iranian journalists who are persecuted by the Iranian authorities. NUJ members working in London continue to face targeting, harassment and persecution, in August, the NUJ, the IFJ, and the BBC jointly responded to comments and accusations made about the BBC Persian Service and its journalists, made via the Iranian Mizan news agency.

Tags: , iran, association of iranian journalists, ifj, bbc persian service, journalists arrested, journalists detained, journalists prosecuted, solidarity