The two Iranian journalists who exposed the case of Mahsa Amini, whose death in police custody sparked mass anti-government protests, are on trial this week on various charges of spying for the CIA and could face the death penalty.
Nilufer Hamedi, from the Sharq newspaper, sat on the bench on Tuesday to testify. Hamedi was the first journalist to publish images of Amini's parents embracing in a Tehran hospital, where the young woman herself was left in a coma while she was in police custody for allegedly wearing the Islamic headscarf inappropriately. The images of her published on Twitter last September sparked protests in the country. For her part, Elaleh Mohammadi, a reporter for the Ham Mihan newspaper, declared yesterday after being arrested in Saqqez, Kurdish province of Iran, where Amini's funeral was organized.
Both have been accused of collaborating with the US government, spying for the CIA, committing crimes against national security and participating in propaganda activities against the regime. These charges carry the death penalty in Iran. "Mohammadi's trial continued its course. We are waiting for the court to announce the date of the next hearing. We will see Hamedi's trial," his lawyer, Shahabeddin Mirlohi, told the media, criticizing the Iranian judiciary for not being able to speak to their clients up to two days before trial, despite the fact that they have been in pretrial detention for eight months.
The judicial process is full of secrecy. The family of the journalists even stated that they found out about the date of the hearing from the press. "According to the laws and regulations, the case of these two journalists will be thoroughly and determinedly investigated," Iran's judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi said when he announced the trial date ten days ago.
"After months of uncertainty, holding a trial is better than remaining undecided and waiting. However, the family of the journalists would like an open court where attendance is not prohibited," a friend of those affected told the local IranWire newspaper. . Both Hamedi and Mohammadi have denied all charges against them.
The Tehran International Federation of Journalists (TPJA) demanded the release of the journalists and called for the trial to take place in a public court. "Unfortunately, in recent years, these types of trials have been carried out in private and without the presence of the media. This is a method that prevents the public from being informed of the details of the hearing and the truth of the matter," the association said in a statement this week.
Amini's death sparked the biggest protests in Iran in the last decade. The Iranian authorities denied having caused her death and attributed it to "diseases" of the young woman, despite family and friends claiming that Amini was beaten in police custody.
A total of thirteen journalists remain in preventive detention for their coverage of Amini's death and the subsequent protests, which have evolved from a cry for the death of the young woman to massive demonstrations demanding regime change, economic and social improvements.
In the last eight months, more than 520 people have been killed in protests and more than 20,000 have been detained. At least seven people have been executed after being sentenced to death for their participation in the protests, while humanitarian organizations have denounced dozens of cases of torture and sexual abuse in police custody.
According to the criteria of The Trust Project