Recent developments in the case of Mahsa Aminis, an Iranian-British dual national who died in a Tehran prison in April, has stirred up international shock and outrage. On Tuesday, two female journalists who had been covering the case were sentenced in Iran to four-and-half years in prison for allegedly collaborating with the United States.
The two journalists are Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, a British-Iranian citizen, and Marzieh Amiri, a freelancer for several international organizations. Their sentences come amid a crack-down on the press by the Iranian government, which marked a new low in press freedom in the country.
Nobakht and Amiri had been held in prison since last year and were only recently indicted on charges of propaganda against the state and collaboration with the United States. During their trial, both women denied the charges and their lawyers argued that the accusations lacked evidence or a basis in fact.
The case of Aminis, a dual national who was arrested in April 2019 and died in prison a year later, had already sparked international condemnation. Aminis’ death also sparked a nationwide hunger strike by dual nationals and other inmates, which only increased the public scrutiny of the Iranian government.
The sentences of Nobakht and Amiri are likely to draw even more international condemnation, as it adds to the already tense relations between Iran and Western countries. These sentences shed light on how Iranian authorities increasingly use repressive measures to crack down on freedom of speech and the press, a concerning development for democracy and human rights activists around the world.
Ultimately, the case of Mahsa Aminis, Nobakht, and Amiri raise serious questions about press freedom and democracy in Iran. Unless the Iranian government makes a bold move to address these issues, the country will continue to face more criticism and pressure from the international community.