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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

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LONDON: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned the Iranian regime’s use of “baseless charges” to suppress journalists in the country following the arrest and sentencing of a theater and cinema photographer.

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“Instead of trying to rehabilitate its international image, Iran has instead created a revolving cell door policy with regards to imprisoning journalists,” said Justin Shilad, senior Middle East and North Africa researcher at the CPJ.

The latest condemnation follows the arrest of cultural reporter and theater photographer Nooshin Jafari.

She was sentenced to a total of four years in prison for “spreading anti-establishment propaganda” and “insulting sanctities,” in a case that remained in appeal until Feb. 13.

The CPJ reported that her appeals had been rejected by the Iranian judiciary, and that she has now been taken to Qarchak prison — notorious for being a hive of extrajudicial killings, torture and human rights abuses.

“Iranian authorities must free Nooshin Jafari immediately and stop imprisoning the country’s journalists on baseless charges,” Shilad said.

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The CPJ derided her arrest in 2019 as “outrageous.” It also drew widespread condemnation from rights groups and Iranians inside the country — including from celebrities.

Other rights groups and international bodies have repeatedly spoken out against the regime’s dismal treatment of journalists, with female reporters finding themselves at the sharp end of Tehran’s repression.

Last year, a group of UN human rights experts said: “Reports also indicate a pattern of gender-based harassment, targeting women journalists since 2009.”

That harassment, they said, involves “the dissemination of false stories, spreading of rumours and slander, usually with highly misogynistic contents and threats of sexual violence.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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