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Husband of Jailed Iranian Journalist Says Wife Denied Meeting With Lawyer


FILE - A woman looks at a computer screen with a photo of Iranian journalists Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, in Nicosia, Cyprus, Nov. 2, 2022.

The husband of jailed Iranian journalist Niloufar Hamedi says there has been no response from Iranian authorities despite his wife’s written request to meet with her lawyers.

Mohammad Hossein Ajorlou voiced his disappointment over his wife’s case in a post on Instagram and accused Iran’s judiciary of waiting for "Niloufar Hamedi's name to be forgotten."

Hamedi, of the Shargh newspaper, reported on the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police last September. The death of Amini, who was accused of wearing her headscarf too loosely, sparked nationwide anti-government protests.

Hamedi was taken into police custody after her story was published. Police also detained Elaheh Mohammadi, of the Ham Mihan newspaper. She wrote a story about Amini's funeral. Both journalists went on trial in May.

Iranian officials said the two journalists had been indicted on charges of collaborating with the United States, acting against national security, and creating "propaganda against the system."

A U.S. Department of State spokesman had rejected allegations the journalists had been collaborating with the United States.

During the 53rd session of the U.N Human Rights Council last week, the United States’s permanent representative called for the "immediate release" of Hamedi and Mohammadi.

According to Michèle Taylor, the United States stands in solidarity with all imprisoned journalists worldwide, including Hamedi and Mohammadi, who are being punished solely for speaking the truth.

On June 1, Robert Malley, the U.S. special envoy for Iran, took to Twitter to amplify the message regarding the "sham trial" of Mohammadi and Hamedi, as shared by the Persian account of the Department of State.

In his tweet, Malley firmly declared, "Journalism is not a crime."

World Press Freedom Index 2022 by countries and territories, according to Reporters Without Borders
World Press Freedom Index 2022 by countries and territories, according to Reporters Without Borders

Both reporters on Wednesday were recognized with the Golden Pen of Freedom award by the World Association of News Publishers, or WAN-IFRA, for their coverage of Amini’s death.

The annual award recognizes journalists who made significant contributions to press freedom.

“This is the fourth award of the Golden Pen to Iranian journalists, and the fourth time we speak from this platform to denounce the jailing of Iranian journalists,” World Editors Forum president Martha Ramos said in a statement.

“What both women were doing is precisely their job as journalists. The Iranian people will not remain in a state of denial or servitude to tyrants, totalitarians, and those who deny basic human dignity. But this comes at a price – one which is too high,” Ramos added.

According to the World Press Freedom Index 2023 issued by Reporters Without Borders on May 3 to coincide with World Press Freedom Day, Iran is considered one of the world's worst countries for press freedom. It has been ranked 177th out of 180 nations in worldwide assessments of press freedoms, followed by Vietnam, China and North Korea.

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