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Journalism is not a Crime

Iranian Journalist Maroofian Re-Arrested amid Media Crackdown

July 12, 2023
2 min read
Nazila Maroofian was taken into custody on July 8 and was then transferred to an undisclosed location; she has since not contacted her family, friends or colleagues
Nazila Maroofian was taken into custody on July 8 and was then transferred to an undisclosed location; she has since not contacted her family, friends or colleagues

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has urged Iranian authorities to release Nazila Maroofian, a journalist who was re-arrested last week, and drop any charges against her.

Maroofian, a reporter for the state-run news website Rouydad24, was taken into custody on July 8 after she responded to a summons at a court in Tehran’s Evin prison. 

She was then transferred to an undisclosed location, and she has since not contacted her family, friends or colleagues, CPJ quoted a person familiar with the case as saying.

In a statement on July 11, Sherif Mansour, the New York-based media freedom watchog’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, called for Maroofian’s immediate release, saying that “members of the press must be allowed to live without constant fear that they will be harassed and detained.” 

Maroofian was previously arrested in November and was imprisoned for more than two months for her coverage of the nationwide anti-government protests sparked by the September death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

Authorities released the journalist on bail in January 9 this year and convicted her in absentia of “spreading propaganda against the system” and “false news” on January 28, CPJ reported.

Maroofian was sentenced to two years in prison and a five-year ban on leaving the country, which she appealed. The authorities cited an interview she conducted with Amini’s father as part of their case against her.

After Maroofian’s conviction was upheld, the journalist was waiting to be summoned to serve her sentence, the source told CPJ. 

It was not immediately clear whether she was summoned to serve her sentence or because she is facing new charges.

Iranian security forces have cracked down hard on last year’s protests, killing more than 520 people and unlawfully detaining over 19,000, activists say. Following biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.

According to CPJ, at least 95 journalists were arrested in the wake of the widespread protests, making Iran the world’s worst jailer of journalists in the group’s 2022 prison census. 

Many journalists received harsh sentences related to those arrests, and about 80 were released on bail, the watchdog said, adding that authorities have recently begun summoning them to start their sentences. 

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