Elahe Mohammadi, a reporter with Ham-Mihan newspaper, and Niloofar Hamedi, of Shargh newspaper, introduced early consideration to the story, which set off widespread protests and a broader motion to finish clerical rule.
The journalists, who’ve spent months in detentions, stand accused of “colluding with hostile powers” — a cost they deny, in keeping with their households, and which may carry an extended sentence or the loss of life penalty. The federal government has not introduced any proof publicly backing up the allegations.
Advocates and rights teams say the reporters have little hope of a good trial and even fundamental due course of underneath Iran’s notoriously opaque and politicized judicial system. Hundreds of demonstrators stay jailed, and no less than seven have been executed, in connection to the protest motion.
Mohammadi’s trial opened Monday in Department 15 of Iran’s Revolutionary Court docket, a parallel judicial system tasked with defending the Islamic Republic. Hamedi’s trial started Tuesday in the identical court docket overseen by Abulqasem Salavati, often known as Iran’s “hanging choose” for the frequency of his harsh rulings.
The courts haven’t mentioned when a ruling shall be issued.
“Now we have already seen a rash of unfair trials after hundreds of protesters, together with journalists, have been arbitrarily detained as a part of the Islamic Republic’s crackdown,” mentioned Nassim Papayianni, senior campaigner for the Iran crew at Amnesty Worldwide, a number one human rights group. “These trials have began amid a horrific spike in executions and different critical violations in Iran.”
Papayianni mentioned each girls have been held for days in solitary confinement and topic to repeated interrogations with out entry to a lawyer. Forward of the trials, their legal professionals couldn’t entry the case recordsdata in opposition to them, as is typical within the Revolutionary Court docket, she mentioned.
Hamedi’s husband, Mohammad Hossein Ajorlou, mentioned on Twitter on Tuesday that she “denied all the fees in opposition to her and emphasised that she had carried out her responsibility as a journalist primarily based on the legislation.” The trial, he mentioned, “led to lower than two hours whereas her legal professionals didn’t get an opportunity to defend her.”
Shahabeddin Mirlohi, Mohammadi’s lawyer, recounted the identical in feedback to Ham-Mihan, a pro-reform information outlet. His feedback seem to have elicited criticism from the judiciary’s Mizan Information Company, which accused Mohammadi’s lawyer of creating an “unlawful” and “false assertion” concerning time allotted for a protection.
Households of each girls have been denied entry to their trials, in keeping with Ajorlou and Mirlohi. As a substitute, family and friends waited outdoors the courthouse for a glimpse by means of the tinted home windows of the vans transporting them, their newspapers reported.
The “girl, life, freedom” protest motion started in mid-September after the loss of life of Amini on Sept. 16. She had been detained her three days earlier in Tehran for alleged violations of the necessary gown code, which features a hijab requirement for ladies. Amini was hospitalized for accidents sustained in custody. Her household later mentioned she was crushed to loss of life.
As information unfold of Amini’s situation, Hamedi went to the hospital to report and snapped a photograph of Amini’s household in a somber embrace. It went viral. After Amini died, Mohammadi traveled to the younger girl’s hometown of Saqez, in Iran’s Kurdistan province. She reported from Amini’s funeral, which was a protest after police tried to disperse it in a violent crackdown.
Each girls have been arrested on the finish of September. In November, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and the intelligence company of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, the guardians of Iran’s safety state, accused the U.S. CIA of orchestrating Hamedi and Mohammadi’s reporting and serving to to plan the nationwide, leaderless unrest.
For months, hundreds of Iranians took to the streets every day to denounce state repression and demand the top of theocratic rule, arrange after the 1979 revolution. Iranian authorities responded with an more and more violent crackdown, killing greater than 500 protesters and bystanders and arresting some 20,000 others, in keeping with HRANA, a Virginia-based activist information company targeted on Iran. By the winter, demonstrations died down; in February, Iran’s supreme chief, Ayatollah Khamenei, issued amnesty, no less than briefly, for hundreds of protesters.
However key activists and public figures, resembling Hamedi and Mohammadi, stay detained and liable to the loss of life penalty. Within the newest escalation, on Could 19, Iran executed three males linked to the anti-government protests, after state media aired alleged confessions that rights teams mentioned have been in all probability coerced underneath torture. No less than seven extra males linked to the protests stay on loss of life row, in keeping with HRANA.
“We imagine that is a part of the Iranian authorities’ marketing campaign to torment and terrorize the Iranian inhabitants inside Iran to carry an finish to the protests,” mentioned Papayianni, the Amnesty campaigner.