Tehran – 8 June 2010 - Ta Azadi-ye Rouznamehnegaran-e Zendani (Until the Freedom of Imprisoned Journalists) - Journalist and women’s rights activist, Jila Baniyaghoob, has been sentenced to one year in prison and banned from journalism for 30 years. The sentence was communicated to Ms Baniyaghoob today by the Revolutionary Court Branch 26, headed by Judge Pir-Abbasi.
Ms Baniyaghoob has been a journalist for many years and has received several international awards, including the Award for Courage in Journalism, the International Award for Freedom of Expression, and the Best Blogger Award (handed out by Reporters Without Borders).
The International Women’s Media Foundation, who gave Jila Baniyaghoob the Award for Courage in Journalism, said about her: ‘Baniyaghoob travelled throughout the Middle East, including Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria in 2001-2002. She has written accounts of refugees and women she met, covering topics such as social and legal discrimination.’
Ms Baniyaghoob appeared in court two weeks ago, on the same day that her husband, Bahman Ahmadi-Amouee, returned to Evin prison after a 72-day home leave. Ms Baniyaghoob had been accused of propaganda against the Islamic Republic. Her reports on the protests immediately following the controversial elections in June 2010 were presented as evidence.
The reports cited as evidence for ‘propaganda against the Islamic Republic’ included coverage of the human chain of Mir Hossein-Mousavi’s supporters along Tehran’s Vali-ye Asr avenue; the election campaign; and the views expressed by people on the streets of Tehran.
Ms Baniyaghoob and her husband, Bahman Ahmadi-Amouee, were arrested in their apartment one week after the elections. She was released on bail a month later, but Mr Ahmadi-Amouee, an independent economics journalist, remained in solitary confinement.
Jila Baniyaghoob has worked on many Iranian newspapers, including the reformist dailies, Nowrouz and Yas-e Now, all of which were banned a short while after their launch. Ms Baniyaghoob last worked as the Social and Women’s Affairs Editor on the daily Sarmayeh.
The Revolutionary Court’s Branch 28 has also imposed a three year prison sentence on Massoud Nour-Mohammadi, under Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code which deals with ‘gathering and conspiracy to commit crimes against the country’s internal security.’