The Mizan News Agency reported Monday that the Iranian judiciary had launched a new case against journalists Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi following their release on bail. The two had appeared in front of a crowd outside the prison without wearing the hijab, prompting these new charges.
Iranian authorities arrested Hamedi and Mohammadi in September of 2022, following protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, who died following her detention for not complying with Iran’s mandatory hijab rules. At the time, Iranian authorities said that she had died due to a pre-existing health condition, but this account was rejected, sparking nationwide protests. Both Hamedi and Mohammadi had worked for reformist publications, with Hamedi visiting the hospital while Amini was in a coma and then breaking the story about Amini’s death, publishing pictures of Amini’s parents mourning their daughter at the Tehran hospital where she died. Police arrested her shortly after. Mohammadi worked for Ham-Mihan, a pro-reform daily newspaper in Tehran, and traveled to Amini’s home of Saqqez to report on the funeral and was arrested just days later.
In October 2023, Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Hamedi to 13 years in prison and Mohammadi to 12 on various charges, including collaboration with the US government, colluding to commit crimes against the nation’s security and propaganda against the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran. They are currently appealing these sentences and were released on bail on Sunday, appearing in front of the prison to reunite with dozens of family members in a tearful reunion. Photos and videos were posted on social media celebrating the women. Less than a day later, it was announced that, because they appeared unveiled, new charges were being brought against them.
Iran has arrested around 100 journalists since the protests began in 2022. Human Rights Watch reported on the situation, stating that there has been a “brutal repression of popular demands for fundamental change” and that authorities have been engaged in “lethal and excessive force against protesters, arbitrary arrests of activists, journalists, and rights defenders, the torture and sexual assault of detainees, and executions of people after sham trials.”