At least 20 journalists arrested in Iran for reporting on protests

At least 20 journalists arrested in Iran for reporting on protests
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Many journalists have been arrested in post-midnight raids on their homes, as the raiding parties neither identified their agencies nor produced arrest warrants.

At least 20 journalists have been arrested in Iran for reporting on the protests over the death of Mahsa Amini in custody, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Monday.

Acording to CPJ, several journalists were taken into custody in post-midnight raids on their homes without arrest warrants produced or charges explained, and the electronic devices of journalists were confiscated.

The most recent arrests include freelance reporter Sarvenaz Ahmadi and blogger Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, CPJ said.

According to a tweet by Ronaghi’s friend and former colleague, exiled Iranian journalist Masoud Kazemi, the blogger told his mother in a call on Monday that security forces had beaten him and broken his leg while in custody.

The journalists in custody include Tehran-based photojournalist Yalda Moaiery, who said conditions in Qarchak prison in the city of Varamin, southeast of Tehran, were “horrible,” with more than 100 women crammed into a tight space.

Tehran-based reporter Niloofar Hamedi, who was among the first journalists to report on Amini’s hospitalization, was able to make a phone call to her husband following her arrest. She said that she is kept in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin prison and is being interrogated.

Mojtaba Rahimi, a political reporter, was arrested in his home in the city of Qazvin, following tweets about several protesters killed in and around his hometown.

Marzieh Talaee, a Kurdish reporter, was arrested in the city of Saqqez, Amini's hometown in Kurdistan province.

Elahe Mohammadi, a reporter with the state-run Hammihan Daily, was arrested on September 22, according to a tweet by her lawyer Mohammad-Ali Kamfirouzi. The lawyer said security forces broke the entrance door to her house and arrested her violently and confiscated her personal devices such as laptop, books, phone and her press card.

Ahmadreza Halabisaz, a photojournalist, was arrested in downtown Tehran on 22 September while he was photographing the protests. A few hours after his arrest, he was permitted to call his family and tell them that he was taken to Evin prison, BBC Persian service reported.

Other journalists in custody are:

- Iman Behpasand, political commentator, columnist, and women’s issues reporter

- Behzad Vafakhah, cultural and political columnist

- Ruhollah Nakhaee, foreign policy reporter

- Alireza Khoshbakht, political reporter

- Zahra Tohidi, political reporter

- Fatemeh Rajabi, economics reporter

- Majid Tavakoli, political commentator and columnist

- Masoud Kordpour, editor-in-chief of the Kurdish Mukrian News Agency

- Khosrow Kordpour, editor and reporter with the Kurdish News website Mukrian New Agency, brother of Masoud Kordpour

- Elnaz Mohammadi, political reporter with semi-state-run bi-monthly Andishepouya magazine, twin sister of Elahe Mohammadi

- Vida Rabbani, political commentator recently sentenced to ten years and four months in prison and banned from practicing journalism

- Hamed Shafiei, political and social reporter

- Sarvenaz Ahmadi, freelance political and cultural reporter, who recently reported on forced child labor

- Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, blogger

22-year-old Mahsa Amini became a symbol of defiance against oppression in Iran following her death in custody on 16 September, only a few days after she was arrested by the so-called "morality police" for allegedly failing to adhere to hijab (headscarf) rules. As authorities claim that she died from underlying health reasons, her family and many Iranians believe that she died as a result of the violence she was subjected to.