One year ago, Niloofar Hamedi, a well-known reporter working for the Shargh newspaper, was apprehended by the security forces of the Islamic Republic for her coverage of Mahsa Amini's death while in police custody.
She has since been languishing in Tehran’s Evin prison.
Hamedi is among Iranian women sportswriters who have pushed the boundaries that previously confined them to reporting exclusively on women's sports.
She is also a member of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), which has repeatedly called for her release.
The Iranian office of this organization, however, has not released any clear statements regarding Hamedi since her arrest.
Abdulhamid Ahmadi has served as the president of this association for more than three decades and ascended to the board of directors of the AIPS without having been involved in journalism a single day.
How can Ahmadi's ascension be explained?
From 1983 until today, Ahmadi held no less than 31 executive roles within government organizations, departments or universities in Iran.
He claims to have authored 19 "promotional scientific" articles, the most noteworthy being a piece published in Arabic in the magazine Arab Literature.
He also describes himself as a member of the editorial board of Communication Management in Sports Media, which primarily produces articles and bulletins for the departments of public relations of ministries or government agencies.
Ahmadi's record also includes instances of intimidation directed toward Iranian sports journalists.
In 2019, during his tenure as the head of the Sports Journalists Association, he met with members of the parliament’s Cultural Commission and championed a proposal to impose a four-year ban on Iranian journalists who ask embarrassing questions.
"We have informed the media that they should only ask questions to football coaches about the match at hand, and they are prohibited from asking unrelated questions," he said at the time.
Given his background, it is hardly surprising that the AIPS board of directors remains unaware of Hamedi’s plight.
What Does the Latest AIPS Statement Say?
IranWire recently contacted Giani Merlo, the head of AIPS, about the conspicuous silence of Abdulhamid Ahmadi regarding Hamedi’s case.
In response, Merlo shared a link to the statement released by the association on the one-year anniversary of the journalist’s arrest.
The text, titled "Niloofar Hamedi: A year of anguish in jail for revealing truth, AIPS strongly reiterates calls for freedom of our Iranian colleagues,” also pleades for the release of Elaheh Mohammadi, another female journalist arrested a year ago for covering the events surrounding Amini’s death. Mohammadi has never been never a member of this association, however.
“There is no reason to keep them in jail and the accusations are fake,” the statement reads. “For these reasons we ask for the release of Niloofar and Elaheh, because they were doing only their honest work. And we invite our colleagues all around the world to join us in demanding for them to be freed in the name of free journalism.”
The Association of Journalists and Sports Photographers of Iran chose to remain entirely silent regarding Hamidi's case and the detention of other sports journalists and photographers during last year’s nationwide protests.
The organization issued only one muted statement on this matter which did not even mention the names of those detained.