Protest-hit Iran detains journalist, pardons tens of thousands: Media - GulfToday

Protest-hit Iran detains journalist, pardons tens of thousands: Media


Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with a group of girls in Tehran on Sunday. Reuters

Iranian authorities have detained a journalist at a reformist publication, local media reported on Sunday, as her sister, also a journalist, remains in custody after reporting on Mahsa Amini's death.

Iran has been gripped by nationwide protests since the September 16 death in custody of Amini, a 22-year-old ethnic Kurd, who had been arrested for an alleged breach of strict dress rules for women.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, meanwhile, has agreed to pardon or commute the sentences of a "significant number" of convicts, some of whom were detained during the protests, said a statement posted on Sunday on his website.

It did not specify the number of those who will benefit from the pardon, but local media estimated it to be "tens of thousands."

Reformist daily Shargh reported that Elnaz Mohammadi, a reporter for Hammihan -- another reformist newspaper -- was detained at the Evin prosecutor's office in Tehran after going there "for an explanation."

It was not immediately clear why Mohammadi had been summoned.

Her sister, Elahe Mohammadi, was arrested on September 29 after reporting for Hammihan from Amini's funeral.

The journalist was subsequently charged with "propaganda against the system and conspiracy to act against national security," offences punishable by death.

The funeral procession in Amini's home town of Saqez in Kurdistan province turned into one of the first protest actions, followed by more than four months of unrest.

Authorities say hundreds of people, including dozens of security personnel, have been killed during protests.

Thousands of Iranians, including public figures, journalists and lawyers, have been arrested.

In recent weeks the judiciary has expedited the processes to sentence or free on bail journalists and others arrested in connection with the protests, generally described by the authorities as "riots."

Shargh reported on Sunday that Hossein Yazdi, a journalist arrested on Dec.5, had been sentenced to a year in prison as well as a two-year travel ban.

He was the "manager of Mobin 24 website and Iran Times news channel", Shargh said, without elaborating on the charges against him.

Khamenei's statement on Sunday said he had "agreed to the proposal of the head of the judiciary to pardon or commute the sentences of a significant number of convicts" in honour of the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

It was not immediately clear how many of these were held in connection with the protest movement.

Khamenei routinely grants collective pardons on major religious or national occasions, at the suggestion of the head of the judiciary.

The judiciary's Mizan Online news website said people charged over the protests "will not be pardoned if they do not express remorse" and provide a written statement committing not to repeat the offence.

Khamenei's statement notes several charges that would prevent a pardon for protest-related inmates, including espionage, contact with foreign intelligence services, murder and vandalism of public property.

The judiciary has sentenced 18 people to death in connection with the protests, according to a media tally based on official announcements.

Four people have been executed, triggering international outrage.

Agence France-Presse

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