Iran launches smear campaign against jailed journalists

Shabnam von Hein

More female journalists are behind bars in Iran than ever before. Among them are Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, both of whom have been accused of “conspiring against national security.”

For a long time, Niloofar Hamedi was a sports reporter. She loves soccer, her colleagues write on social media, posting photos of her at games. But for more than two months now, the 30-year-old reporter for Shargh — one of Iran’s largest daily newspapers — has been locked up without charge. Hamedi’s lawyer have said she’s not allowed to contact anyone and that lies are being spread about Hamedi and her colleague, Elahe Mohammadi. 

The two journalists were among the first to report on the death of Jina Masha Amini in September. Hamedi did so from the hospital where Amini was lying in coma before being officially declared dead on September 16. Hamedi was arrested four days later.

Mohammadi worked for the Ham-Mihan newspaper. She traveled to Amini’s hometown of Saqqez, in northwestern Iran’s Kurdish region, to report on Amini’s funeral, which sparked the first protests that would grow into Iran’s current protest movement. Just two weeks later, she, too, was arrested….