A security guard stands at the gate of Evin Prison in Tehran, undated. (Fars)

February 8, 2021

An Iranian journalist was sentenced to three years of prison, 74 lashes, a financial penalty, and apologizing to the plaintiff yesterday by the Tehran Criminal Court.

According to the Human Rights News Agency, Fariborz Kalantari was charged for “insulting” Mehdi Jahangiri, the brother of Iran’s First Vice-President, Ishaq Jahangiri.

Mehdi Jahangiri sued Kalantari for writing an article which cited his financial corruption. Kalantari was charged with “insulting” Jahangiri and “publishing lies” and was sentenced to three years of prison lashes. This is while before this Mehdi Jahangiri was convicted of corruption in court. But he will only spend two years in prison for “professional currency smuggling”.

Suppression of freedom of speech in Iran

An Iranian blogger, Soheil Arabi, was jailed in 2013 and is still serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence.

Soheil Arabi is a photographer, blogger, and civil rights activist who was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards Corps in November 2013. He was initially sentenced to death for “blasphemy”. The death penalty was later dropped due to an international outcry.

In April 2020, a reporter who published a letter by a northern Iran health official threatening health workers with prison and flogging was referred to the Iranian Judiciary. The Head of the Medical Sciences University in Golestan Province had threatened nurses that if they leave their shifts, they will be jailed and lashed.

In October 2020, the Chief of Iran’s Cyber Police (FATA) said that its agents had arrested two people in Ardabil, northwestern Iran, on charges of insulting the province’s judiciary officials.

“While monitoring social networks, Cyber Police experts came upon Telegram groups that were disturbing public opinion by posting lies, fake news and insults against the province’s judiciary officials,” Ali Ghahreman Tale’e said in comments carried by the IRGC affiliated Tasnim News Agency.

One of the world’s most repressive countries

According to the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) annual report, Iran has been one of the world’s most repressive countries for journalists for the past 40 years.

The report says that state control of news and information is unrelenting in Iran and at least 860 journalists and citizen-journalists have been imprisoned or executed since 1979.

The Islamic regime exercises extensive control over the media landscape and its harassment of independent journalists, citizen-journalists and independent media has not let up.

They are constantly subjected to intimidation, arbitrary arrest and long jail sentences imposed by revolutionary courts at the end of unfair trials. The media that are still resisting increasingly lack the resources to report freely and independently.

INW

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.