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Source: Guardian

Sep 3, 2023

Iran jails two female journalists over ‘conspiracy and collusion’

Negin Bagheri and Elnaz Mohammadi receive three-year sentences but will spend about a month in prison

By Agence France-Presse in Tehran

Two female Iranian journalists will spend about a month in prison as part of a three-year partly suspended sentence for “conspiracy” and “collusion”, local media reported on Sunday.

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 “professional ethics training” and be “prohibited from leaving the country”, the lawyer added.

Raisian did not elaborate on whether the verdict could be appealed against, and the report did not detail the allegations against the reporters.

Mohammadi’s sister, Elaheh, who also works for Ham Mihan, has been in prison since September after reporting on the funeral of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died in police custody.

The death on 16 September last year of Amini, an Iranian Kurd, followed her arrest for an alleged breach of Iran’s dress code, triggering months-long protests across the country.

Foreign-based rights groups have reported numerous 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.

Hundreds of people were killed in last year’s protests, including dozens of security personnel, and thousands were 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 had questioned or arrested more than 90 journalists since the protests.

On Wednesday, an Iranian news agency reported that Nazila Maroufian, a journalist who defied Iran’s strict dress code and was freed on bail earlier in August, had been rearrested for not wearing the headscarf in public.

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