Trial begins for Iranian female journalist detained for reporting on Mahsa Amini

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Iran held the initial court hearing on Monday for a female journalist who was arrested after reporting on the funeral of Mahsa Amini, a young woman whose death sparked months of anti-regime protests in the Islamic Republic.

Iranian-Kurdish Amini, 22, died on September 16, three days after being arrested by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly breaching the country’s strict dress rules for women. Her death triggered months of protests that quickly escalated into calls for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.


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The trial of Elaheh Mohammadi of Hammihan newspaper was held behind closed doors. Her lawyer, Shahab Mirlohi, told the semi-official ILNA news agency that the first session “went well.” The date of the next session “will be announced later,” he added.

Niloofar Hamedi, another female journalist from Shargh newspaper, who was also detained for her coverage of Amini’s case, is scheduled to stand trial on Tuesday.

Both journalists have been accused of “colluding with hostile powers” due to their reporting on Amini’s death. The charge potentially carries the death penalty in Iran.

In October, a joint statement issued by Iran’s intelligence ministry and the intelligence unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) alleged that Mohammadi and Hamedi were CIA agents.

Mohammadi covered Amini’s funeral in Saqqez, her Kurdish hometown, where the protests initially erupted.

Hamedi captured an image of Amini’s parents embracing each other at a Tehran hospital while their daughter was in a coma. Hamedi shared the photo on Twitter, which served as the first indication that Amini’s condition was critical. Amini had been detained by Iran’s morality police three days prior to her hospitalization.

The two journalists have been held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison since September and will face separate trials.

Iranian authorities consider the demonstrations that followed Amini’s death as “riots” instigated by foreign powers. The protests were met with a violent crackdown by the authorities, resulting in the deaths of hundreds and the arrest of thousands, according to human rights groups.

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