Iranian authorities on Sunday released two journalists who spent over a year in prison for covering the death of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian woman whose arrest in Tehran by the morality police for opposing mandatory hijab standards and subsequent death in police custody sparked nationwide and global protests, local media outlets reported. Footage on social media also showed Hamedi and Mohammadi reuniting with family and friends immediately following their release.
Niloufar Hamedi, age 31, and Elaheh Mohammadi, 36, were released from Evin prison in Tehran on bail, Iranian news outlets reported. According to Radio Farda, the Iranian branch of US government-funded Radio Free Europe, the Court of Appeal of Tehran province on Sunday agreed to change the sentence of Hamedi and Mohammadi to 10 Billion Tomans each (approximately $237,000), therefore enabling the women to post bail and be released from prison after 17 months.
Hamedi, who worked for the reformist newspaper Shargh, broke the news of Amini’s death. Mohammadi, working for Ham-Mihan, reported on Amini’s funeral. In response to protests taking place after the funeral and the rapidly spreading unrest across the country, both women were arrested and charged with collaborating with the US government and colluding against national security; some protests called for a complete overthrow of the Iranian regime.
In October 2023, the judiciary’s Mizan Online website announced that Hamedi and Mohammadi had been sentenced to 13 and 12 years in prison respectively, for their collaboration with the US and alleged conspiracy against the security of the Islamic Republic.
Both journalists are appealing these sentences and will remain out of jail until the Court of Appeal makes a decision. They are, however, banned from traveling outside Iran.
Iranian authorities have questioned and/or arrested over 90 journalists in connection to the protests triggered by Amini’s death, in cities across the country. Many more are considered to be at risk for their involvement.