The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is urging the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Elnaz Mohammadi, her sister Elahe and all other journalists arrested over their coverage of Mahsa Amini’s death in September and the ensuing widespread protests.
“Authorities must let members of the press do their work without fear that they will be summoned and detained,” the New York-based media freedom watchdog’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, Sherif Mansour, said in a statement on February 6.
Elnaz Mohammadi was arrested on January 5 after she responded to a summons to answer questions at the prosecutor's office in Tehran’s Evin Prison, her husband said.
It remained unclear whether any charges have been filed against the journalist, who has covered the fallout from Amini’s death in her work at the state-run Hammihan newspaper.
She is the sister of Elahe Mohammadi, who has been imprisoned since September 22. She was among the first journalists who reported Amini’s September 16 death in morality-police custody, which sparked the ongoing protests across Iran.
In October, Iranian authorities accused Elahe Mohammadi and another jailed journalist, Niloofar Hamedi, of being spies for the United States and being the “primary sources of news for foreign media.” The two journalists face the death penalty if charged and convicted of espionage.
Dozens of journalists have been detained across Iran since the middle of September. Some of them have been released. Others have been summoned, threatened and had their electronic equipment seized.
Known for its harsh Internet censorship, which includes banning thousands of websites, the Islamic Republic has to a large scale shut down the Internet for most of Iranians in an effort to prevent them from accessing and disseminating information online and from communicating safely.