According to independent Iranian newspaper Etemad, hundreds of Iranian journalists are calling for the release of colleagues Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, who were arrested and sent to Tehran’s Evin prison for covering Mahsa Amini’s death.
“Freedom of the press is not only the right of journalists, but also the right of society,” read a statement signed by more than 300 Iranian journalists, photographers, and activists on Sunday.
As the Iranian regime tries to squash protests that have rocked the country recently, these arrests are its latest attempt to silence dissent.
“All members of our society have a right to know what is happening in a timely manner, free of censorship or filters, and to question any person or institution that causes inefficiency, corruption or violates the law,” the statement concluded.
“The great society of Iran will not be able to deal with the complex threats in today’s world without responsible citizens such as Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi and other imprisoned journalists.”
On Friday, Iranian intelligence accused the two journalists of training abroad and feeding information to foreign media.
Hamedi was accused by Iranian intelligence of stirring discontent using her position as a journalist “as a cover”.
“When she arrived at the hospital [where Mahsa Amini was taken], she provoked the relatives of the deceased and published targeted news,” the intelligence statement said.
“It was [Niloofar Hamedi] who published the first photo of Mahsa Amini on her hospital bed and she was trained abroad,” the statement said.
“Elaheh Mohammadi also was trained in American courses abroad. Both served as foreign media’s primary news sources.”
A statement issued by Mehdi Rahmanian, the CEO of Shargh newspaper, which Niloofar Hamedi works for, denied that Niloofar had published Mahsa Amini’s hospital bed photo.
According to Niloofar’s husband, Mohammad Hossein Ajorloo, the only photo Niloofar posted was of Mahsa Amini’s family embracing after finding out about her death in morality police custody.
The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that 46 journalists have been jailed in Iran since protests over the death of Mahsa Amini began.
Elaheh Mohammadi and Niloofar Hamedi remain in Evin prison without having been publicly charged.