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Society & Culture

Hamid Mafi, Crime: Journalism

October 27, 2014
3 min read
Hamid Mafi, Crime: Journalism

Hamid Mafi was detained on two occasions by the Islamic authorities for his work as a journalist. Fearing a third arrest, he fled to Germany where he continues to work for news organizations.


Name: Hamid Mafi

Born: 1979, Qazvin, Iran

Career: Journalist and blogger; member of the Central Council for Non-Governmental Organizations of Qazvin; worked with newspapers Etemad-e Melli, Shargh, Kargozaran, Etemad and Farhang-e Ashti.

Charges: Propaganda against the regime, cooperating with the Peoples' Mujahidin of Iran and activities against national security.


Hamid Mafi began working as a journalist in 1997 and has been arrested twice. He was detained for the first time in February 2009, when six plainclothes intelligence agents presented him with an arrest warrant at his home. After his house was searched and some of his belongings were confiscated, he was taken to the detention center at the Intelligence Bureau in the provincial capital of Qazvin, which is situated about 150 kilometers northwest of Tehran.

Mafi was charged with propaganda against the regime and for having relations with the People's Mujahedin of Iran, which is deemed to be “anti-Islamic”. He spent 10 days in solitary confinement before he was released on bail.

He was tried at Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court presided over by Judge Hajjarian, who sentenced him to 18 months in prison. The appeals court cleared him of the cooperation charge and reduced the propaganda against the regime charge to a cash fine.

Mafi was arrested for the second time on February 9, 2010 while he was on the island of Qeshm. He was charged by a judge on duty on the island and transferred to the detention center in Qazvin. He was subsequently taken to the Choobin Dar prison, situated in a village nearby.

In 2013 Mafi told the United States broadcaster National Public Radio (NPR) that he was “spared the worst physical torture” during his imprisonment. But, he said, he “found the psychological stress almost unbearable”—bright lights and endless noise were used by his jailers to prevent him from sleeping and tnterrogators threatened his family and anyone he had called or texted.

“They try to destroy your marriage,” he told the interviewer. “They say what kind of relationship you have—you have a sexual relationship with this person. They really try to destroy your personal life and try to break your self-respect. This is their method.”

He was detained for one month before being released on bail. He was tried at Branch 2 of the Qazvin Revolutionary Court presided over by Judge Zamani, who sentenced him to five years in prison for propaganda against the regime, activities against national security and for having relations with the Peoples' Mujahedin Organization.

Feeling that he could no longer remain in Iran, Mafi crossed the Iranian border into Turkey. He now lives in Germany and works a journalist.


For more information, visit Journalism is Not a Crime, documenting cases of jailed journalists in Iran.

This is part of IranWire’s series Crime: Journalism, a portfolio on the legal and political persecution of Iranian journalists and bloggers, published in both Persian and English.

Please contact [email protected] with comments, updates or further information about cases. 


Read other cases in the series:

Jila Baniyaghoob

Isa Saharkhiz

Ali Ashraf-Fathi 

Mojtaba Pourmohsen

Mahsa Jozeini



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