Iranian Kurdish journalist Nazila Maroofian has begun a dry hunger strike in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, marking her fifth day of protest, the Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) reported.
Maroofian’s hunger strike follows her fourth arrest on 30 August for publishing interviews with Jina Mahsa Amini’s father in October and November 2022.
Meanwhile, on Sunday an Iranian court in Tehran sentenced the 23-year-old journalist to one year in prison and a fine for spreading ‘propaganda against the state’. Maroofian has faced multiple arrests over the past year, with her most recent apprehension involving a violent intrusion by security forces into her residence.
Maroofian is not the only female political prisoner on hunger strike in the Evin prison. Bahareh Hedayat, an Iranian political prisoner, has also begun a hunger strike in protest at government repression and in mourning for the death of fellow prisoner Javad Rouhi. Rouhi, a prominent figure in the Jin, Jiyan, Azadi (Women, Life, Freedom) movement, died in custody last week.
In a letter to Iran International, Bahareh Hedayat criticises the Iranian government’s efforts to normalise the loss of young lives and explains her motives: “I, in obedience to my conscience and in defence of it, protest against the tragic death of Javad Rouhi in prison and express my support for the year-long unyielding resistance of the women of my country for freedom. I hereby declare my hunger strike as of Friday evening. May this humble contribution serve the cause of freedom for Iran, a nation tired of tyranny”.
Escalating crackdown on Iranian journalists continues
As the anniversary of the nationwide protests sparked by the death of Jina Mahsa Amini following her arrest by the morality police approaches, Iran continues to intensify its crackdown on journalists and activists in particular.
As the pressure mounts, Iran has handed down three year suspended prison sentences to two more reporters, Negin Bagheri and Elanaz Mohammadi.
Amir Raeesian, Mohammadi’s lawyer, confirmed the verdict and said that the two journalists would serve part of their sentence while the rest would be suspended for five years. The court cited a lack of evidence and justification for the charges, which ultimately led to their acquittal.
In addition to their sentences, the two reporters have been banned from travelling for five years and are prohibited from engaging in “professional activities related to the crime committed” or having contact with individuals working in foreign media.
According to the Association of Iranian Journalists, more than a hundred reporters and journalists were arrested following the protests.