Washington, D.C. – The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) strongly condemns the decision of an appellate court in Tehran that sentenced journalist Jila Baniyaghoob to one year in jail and a 30-year ban from journalism.
“We are outraged and appalled at this miscarriage of justice,” said IWMF Executive Director Liza Gross.
According to the website negahi.com
, only one other journalist has been so severely punished in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Baniyaghoob’s attorney, Farideh Gheyrat, argued that Baniyaghoob has twice been found innocent of similar charges, that her professional demeanor of reporting fairly on people and events has not changed and that she did not commit offenses against the Islamic Republic of Iran. She called the verdict unjust.
Baniyaghoob won a 2009 Courage in Journalism Award from the IWMF for her bravery in reporting the news from Iran. She was unable to accept the award in person because she was arrested following protests during presidential elections in 2009. Some 40 journalists were arrested along with Baniyaghoob. They include her husband, Bahman Ahmadi Amoyee, who is serving a five-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison, Ward 350.
Baniyaghoob was arrested a week after the elections and sent to Evin prison. She was charged with propaganda against the Islamic regime because of her reports on the election and the protests that followed. She was released on bail in August 2009. In July, the Revolutionary Court in Teheran sentenced her to one year in jail and banned her from practicing journalism for 30 years. She appealed. This new verdict by the appellate court upholds her sentence.