Iran frees eight journalists after they were arrested amid mass protests

More than 20 members of media locked up during nationwide ongoing rallies against the death of Mahsa Amini

A copy of the Hammihan newspaper, featuring on its cover a drawing of Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi and a statement by the Tehran Journalists' Association criticizing their detention by authorities on October 30, 2022. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)
A copy of the Hammihan newspaper, featuring on its cover a drawing of Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi and a statement by the Tehran Journalists' Association criticizing their detention by authorities on October 30, 2022. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

TEHRAN — Iranian authorities said Tuesday they had released eight journalists detained amid protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last month.

Amini died in custody on September 16 after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of Iran’s strict dress rules for women.

Dozens of people, mainly demonstrators but also members of the security forces, have been killed during the demonstrations, described as “riots” by the authorities, and hundreds more have been arrested.

Reformist daily Sazandegi said Sunday that “more than 20 journalists” were in detention, and several others summoned for interrogation.

“So far, eight people have been released,” said Iman Shamsai, director general of local media at the culture ministry, Iran’s ISNA news agency reported.

On Sunday, more than 300 Iranian journalists and photojournalists signed a statement to criticize the authorities for “arresting colleagues and stripping them of their civil rights after their detentions,” according to local media.

Iranians protests the death of Mahsa Amini in Tehran, October 27, 2022. (This photo was taken by an individual not employed by The Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran)

In a statement published in the Etemad newspaper, the Tehran journalists’ association dismissed the “security approach” as “illegal” and “in conflict with press freedom.”

Shamsai however said that “no one has been arrested in Tehran for media activity,” ISNA added.

“We must not attack the entire journalistic profession and accuse the media community because of an accusation or even a crime,” Shamsai said, adding that he hoped to “resolve the issues as soon as possible.”

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