April 18, 2019
An Iranian court has held an appeal hearing for a jailed Iranian journalist and rights activist who faces a 12-year prison sentence for her social media criticisms of Iran’s judiciary.
A report by Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency quoted a lawyer for journalist Hengameh Shahidi as saying he and his client appeared in court for the Tuesday hearing.
Mostafa Tork Hamedani told ISNA that the presiding judge announced the end of the appeals process for Shahidi and pledged to issue a ruling soon. The report gave no other details of the hearing.
Iranian authorities detained Shahidi last June and sentenced her to 12 years in prison in December, pending an appeal.
Earlier this month, the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) quoted an unnamed former colleague of Shahidi as saying the journalist was in poor health after nine months in solitary confinement at Tehran’s Evin prison. CHRI cited the source as saying authorities were treating Shahidi harshly in retaliation for her 2018 social media posts criticizing Iran’s then-judiciary chief Sadegh Larijani and demanding that he release a report on his performance.
Hamedani posted a complaint on Twitter last month about what he said was the Iranian judiciary’s repeated postponement of Shahidi’s appeal hearing and prolonging of her solitary confinement. CHRI said the hearing originally had been scheduled for January and March this year.
CHRI said Shahidi’s December sentence also included two-year bans on membership of political groups, social media activities and leaving the country.
Shahidi is a past contributor to a news site run by the reformist Etemad Melli (National Trust) Party. She also was an adviser to the party’s founder, Mehdi Karroubi, when he competed in Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential election.
Karroubi has been under house arrest since 2011.
Iranian authorities previously jailed Shahidi from 2009 to 2012 for alleged national security offenses related to the 2009 election and its aftermath. She also was detained in Iran for several months in 2017 on suspicion of illicitly collaborating with overseas-operated media sites.