Calls Grow for Journalists and Activists to be Released

The Association of Iranian Journalists has called for the immediate release of journalists arrested while covering the protests across Iran, which have entered their ninth day and are spreading.

“Our colleagues have been arrested or summoned while carrying out their professional duties,” the association’s Tehran provincial chapter said in a statement, adding that journalists’ homes were also searched. Those arrested had been specifically instructed to report on Mahsa Amini’s death and its aftermath, so the arrests were grossly unfair and violated the right of media workers to go about their professional lives safely and without fear of punishment.

The association added that journalists have a professional duty to perform their essential role in reporting the news in a decent and impartial manner.

Vida Rabbani, a journalist who has faced multiple criminal charges in recent years, was also arrested on September 23. She tweeted that she had been sentenced to five years in prison. Two-fifths of that sentence was suspended for five years.

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The association expressed concern that as protests grew and intensified across the country, media professionals were facing increasing pressure while attempting to update the public on developments.

“We reiterate that, from a technical perspective, there is no difference between reporting public or limited protests and news of an earthquake, flood, the opening of a dam or factory, the release of divorce statistics, or a report of a murder “.

The statement insisted that the duties of journalism “go beyond political trends and interests, just as a doctor’s duty is to treat his patients, regardless of their beliefs and inclinations or those of their patients.”

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Preventing journalists from carrying out their mission discredits the entire Iranian media establishment, the statement added. Journalists arrested in recent days have done their job and duty, the statement said, by covering the death of Mahsa Amini and the protests that have ensued.

“They did their job,” the association said, adding that the media should not be restricted by “illegal” means.

Journalists who have published news of Mahsa Amini’s death and the protests so far include Niloufar Hamedi, Rouhollah Nakhaei, Fatemeh Rajabi, Alireza Khoshbakht, Mojtabi Rahimi, Vida Rabbani, Elaheh Mohammadi, Elnaz Mohammadi, Hamed Shafi’i.

IranWire also understands that security forces are not only targeting journalists but also activists and that Sajjad Ramzanzadeh, the 23-year-old brother of activist Reza Ramzanzadeh, was arrested on the evening of September 23 on his way home from work.

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Lawyer Mohammad Ali Kamfirouzi reported that his client Maedeh Delbari, the former secretary of the Islamic Association at Al-Zahra University, was also arrested. In a post on Twitter, he said Delbari was summoned by phone on September 23 to report to the Ministry of Intelligence earlier today. Delbari reported to the ministry, where intelligence officials arrested him.

Security forces also arrested student and civic activists Nagin Aramesh and Ramtin Movasagh at their homes Friday night.

IranWire’s source added that Maedeh Jamal Livani, a student at Noshirvani University in Babol, was arrested at the entrance of a student dormitory.

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