New York, September 21, 2010–The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by Iran’s continued persecution of independent journalists. Reporters Shiva Nazar Ahari and Emadeddin Baghi have each been sentenced to six years in prison, while authorities are said to be considering the death penalty for blogger Hossein Derakhshan, according to news reports.
On Saturday, Iranian authorities sentenced Nazar Ahari, a reporter for the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, to six years in prison and a fine equivalent to US$400 as an alternative punishment to 74 lashes, according to Reuters. She was convicted of moharebeh, or waging war against God, “propagation against the regime” and “actions against national security” for her supposed participation in two political gatherings in 2009. Nazar Ahari has said that she was covering the gatherings for the committee, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. The semi-official ILNA news agency quoted her lawyer, Mohammad Sharif, as saying that he will appeal the verdict.
Nazar Ahari, 26, was jailed for four months shortly after the disputed June 2009 presidential election and released on bail. She was rearrested in December 2009 when she was on her way from Teheran to Qom to attend the funeral of an influential cleric, Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri.