Two journalists and a university student imprisoned in Iran’s Qarchak women's prison for their journalistic work and activism have expressed gratitude for the support they have received from the public since their arrests.
In a message published on social media on March 21, Elahe Mohammadi, Nilofar Hamedi and Samaneh Asghari said their supporters had helped to "keep hope alive in our hearts” and gave them the "strength to carry on."
The journalists Mohammadi and Hamedi were arrested in September 2022 for covering the events surrounding the death of Mahsa Amini, which sparked the ongoing wave of nationwide protests against the country’s clerical establishment.
They are accused of “propaganda against the system” and “conspiring to act against national security,” charges that could carry the death penalty.
Asghari, a university student and children's rights activist, was sentenced earlier this month to 18 years and three months in prison on charges including "disturbing public order and peace," "inciting people to fight and kill each other" and "propaganda against the regime."
She will have to serve one-third of the sentence, according to the Committee for Follow-up on the Status of Detainees.
The trio is imprisoned in Varamin’s Qarchak prison, Tehran province.
The Iranian authorities have unleashed a bloody clampdown on the women-led protest movement triggered by the September 16 death of the 22-year-old Amini in police custody.
Security forces have killed more than 520 people and unlawfully detained over 20,000 others, including dozens of journalists, since the eruption of the protests, activists say. Following biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.