Iranian journalists demand that colleagues jailed for covering Amini's death be freed


A police motorcycle burns during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's "morality police", in Tehran, Iran September 19, 2022. [WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters]

More than 300 Iranian journalists have demanded the release of two colleagues jailed for their coverage of Mahsa Amini, whose death in custody triggered protests posing one of the biggest challenges to ruling clerics in decades.


Their call came in a statement published by the Iranian Etemad and other newspapers on Sunday.


Niloofar Hamedi took a photo of Amini's parents hugging each other in a Tehran hospital where their daughter was lying in a coma.


The image, which Hamedi posted on Twitter, was the first signal to the world that all was not well with Amini, who had been detained three days earlier by Iran's morality police for what they deemed inappropriate dress.


Elaheh Mohammadi covered Amini's funeral in her Kurdish hometown Saqez, where the protests began. A joint statement released by Iran’s intelligence ministry and the intelligence organisation of the Revolutionary Guards on Friday had accused Hamedi and Mohammadi of being CIA foreign agents.


The arrests match an official narrative that Iran's arch-enemy the United States, Israel and other Western powers and their local agents are behind the unrest and are determined to destabilise the country.


At least 40 journalists have been detained in the past six weeks, according to rights groups, and the number is growing.


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