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Journalism is not a Crime

"I Consider Myself the People’s Voice," Iranian Journalist Tells Court

July 26, 2023
2 min read
"I Consider Myself the People’s Voice," Iranian Journalist Tells Court

The second and final hearing in the high-profile trial of Iranian journalist Elahe Mohammadi took place on July 26, with the defendant denying the charges against her, her husband says.

“The hearing concluded with the final defense. Elahe strongly denied all the charges, and we are hopeful that her clear defense presented in court will be duly considered," Saeed Parsaee wrote on Twitter.

In her closing arguments, Mohammadi told the judge presiding Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court: "I can proudly say I have never had any connections with foreign governments and that my loyalty lies with the people, as I consider myself their voice," according to her husband.

Mohammadi, a reporter for Hammihan newspaper, and fellow journalist Niloofar Hamedi of Shargh newspaper were arrested for reporting on the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini in September last year.

They went on trial behind closed doors in May on charges including collaborating with the "hostile" government of the United States, colluding to commit crimes against national security, and engaging in propaganda activities against the regime.

Hamedi’s trial ended on July 26, with a preliminary verdict expected in the next few days, her husband said.

Human rights groups and media freedom watchdogs have condemned the arrest and prosecution of the two journalists, as well as the Islamic Republic’s ongoing clampdown on dissent and the media.

In her final statement to the court, Mohammadi condemned the mass arrest of journalists and urged the authorities to listen to the people, “especially women and journalists who express the concerns of the populace.”

"Journalists who have fulfilled their professional duties should not be subjected to lengthy periods of temporary detention," she said, adding, "Both Niloofar Hamedi and I are being tried as representatives of the noble and suffering Iranian press."

More than 520 people were killed and over 19,000 were unlawfully detained, including nearly 100 journalists, in the crackdown on months-long nationwide protests sparked by Amini’s death, activists say.

Following biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.



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