| 17 July 2024, Wednesday |

Iranian news editor suspended over protest coverage

An Iranian court issued a decision to ban the editor in chief of Etemad newspaper “from any press activity for a year” over coverage of the protest movement triggered by Mahsa Amini’s death last year, according to a report in the newspaper on Saturday.

The court in Tehran imposed the sentence on Behrooz Behzadi, “accused of publishing false content,” Etemad said, citing a decision by the prosecutor’s office following a complaint by a Tehran branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.

AFP said the complaint was in relation to reports it had published which detailed the October “kidnapping” of a scientist and “bans and arrests” of artists who backed the protest movement triggered by Mahsa Amini’s death.

The newspaper’s Saturday edition said Behzadi, in his late 70s, was handed a one-year suspension from work.

Iran was gripped by unrest following the September death in custody of 22-year-old Amini, an Iranian Kurd, following her arrest for an alleged breach of strict dress rules for women.

The demonstrations saw hundreds of people killed, including dozens of security personnel, and more than 20,000 protesters arrested.

Iranian officials labelled as “riots” the popular protests against authorities. Tehran has accused Western countries and Israel of standing behind them.

In January, an Etemad report estimated that some 79 journalists were among the thousands arrested during the unrest.

Meanwhile, observers anticipate a verdict by the Iranian judiciary against two famous journalists accused of cooperation with foreign secret services and propaganda against the state.

The two journalists, Nilufar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, were on trial just a few days ago.

The two women were among the first to report the death of Mahsa Amini in September 2022.

Elahe and Hamedi, and the two newspapers they work for, have rejected the accusations. The two have been behind bars for more than 300 days.

Their trial was held in secret before a court panel led by head of the fifteenth branch of the Revolutionary Court, Abu al-Qasim Salawati, who is known for issuing strict sentences against journalists and political prisoners, and is on the US sanctions list.

The German Journalists Association condemned the way the two journalists were tried. The German news agency quoted President of German Journalists Association, Frank Uberall, as saying: “It had nothing to do with espionage or propaganda,” and that the two journalists were doing their job.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat