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2 Iranian Journalists Who Reported on Mahsa Amini's Death to Go on Trial

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. Both are to stand trial over their coverage of the death last September of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran's morality police.

Two jailed Iranian journalists, who helped break the story of the case of a 22-year-old woman who died in police custody last September, will go on trial later this month, according to Iranian authorities.

A judiciary spokesman said Elaheh Mohammadi will go on trial on May 29 and Niloufar Hamedi will be tried on May 30.

Hamedi, with the Sharq newspaper, was the first to report on the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police. The death of Amini, who was accused of wearing her headscarf too loosely, sparked nationwide anti-government protests.

A few days after Amini’s death, Hamedi was arrested by Iranian security forces.

Elaheh Mohammadi, with the Ham Mihan newspaper, published a story about Amini's funeral. The reporter has been in police custody since September 2022.

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." Their cases were referred to Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.

On May 3, the two reporters and the imprisoned Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi were awarded the 2023 Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize by the United Nations' cultural agency, UNESCO.

Hamedi and Mohammadi were also joint winners of the 2023 International Press Freedom Award by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and Harvard University’s 2023 Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism. They were named two of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2023.

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 listed at No. 177 out of 180 nations ranked in worldwide assessments of press freedoms followed by Vietnam, China, and North Korea.

The Iranian Writers' Association also issued a statement on the occasion of "International Press Freedom Day" on May 4, calling for the unconditional release of all imprisoned journalists and announcing that it will continue to fight to create a society in which the government refrains from attacking the free press and independent media.

Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and the intelligence agency of the Revolutionary Guards issued a joint statement accusing Hamedi and Mohammadi of "spreading biased news."

Maryam Dehkordi, a journalist, previously told VOA that Hamedi and Mohammadi had fulfilled their professional mission and were always sensitive about social issues.