Iran arrests journalist who covered Mahsa Amini funeral: Lawyer

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Iran on Thursday arrested a reporter who covered the funeral of Mahsa Amini, her lawyer said, the latest of a growing number of journalists to be detained since protests erupted over the young woman’s death.

Elahe Mohammadi was summoned by the judicial authorities but was then arrested by security forces while she was on her way to questioning, her lawyer Mohammad Ali Kamfirouzi wrote on Twitter.

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Mohammadi had covered for Iran’s Ham Mihan newspaper the funeral of Amini, 22, who had spent three days in a coma following her arrest by Tehran's notorious morality police and died on September 16.

The funeral in Amini’s home town of Saqqez in Kurdistan province was one of the sparks that ignited the protest movement, with mourners shouting their slogans and mourners removing their headscarves in defiance of the Islamic republic’s dress rules.

Last week, security forces had already raided Mohammadi's home in Tehran, her lawyer said. Her husband wrote on Twitter that she had said in a short phone call she was being held in Tehran’s Evin prison and had not been informed of any charges.

Her arrest comes after police detained journalist Nilufar Hamedi of the Shargh daily, who went to the hospital where Amini lay in a coma and helped expose the case to the world.

Hamedi remains under arrest, also in Tehran’s Evin prison, and her husband has said she is not aware of the charges against her.

Rights groups accuse Iran of carrying out a major round-up of critical journalists still inside the country, targeting especially those who have covered the case of Amini. Internet access is also severely restricted.

Activists say Amini was killed as a result of blows to the head sustained in detention but this has not been confirmed by the authorities.

The Washington-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says at least 25 journalists have been arrested since the protests erupted.

“Iranian security forces must drop their repressive measures against the journalists telling this critical story and restore the internet access that is vital to keep the public informed,” said CPJ Middle East Coordinator, Sherif Mansour.

Also held is photojournalist Yalda Moaiery, who won international recognition for an iconic 2019 photo of protests and is imprisoned in the Qarchak women’s prison outside Tehran which is notorious for its conditions.

She was arrested on September 19 while covering a protest in Tehran, the CPJ said.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said that according to its information at least 33 journalists are currently imprisoned in Iran.

“Iranian journalists are facing a new wave of restrictions,” it said.

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