The New York-based NGO Committee to Protect Journalists on Monday called on the Islamic Republic of Iran to free the elderly journalist Kayvan Samimi and stop arbitrarily imprisoning reporters.

The 72-year-old Samimi, editor-in-chief of the center-left Iran-e-Farda magazine, started his prison term on Monday due to his conviction on the charge of “colluding against national security” that was affirmed by the Tehran Appeals Court on July 27, according to the website IranWire.

“Subjecting an elderly journalist to prolonged detention in the midst of a pandemic on unsubstantiated charges is inhumane and yet another example of Iran’s complete disregard for the work and safety of the press,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour, adding that “We call on the Iranian authorities to release Kayvan Samimi immediately.”

Iranian authorities arrested Samimi on May 1, 2019 – International Labor Day – for reporting on a Labor Day demonstration in front of Tehran’s parliament building.

Iran’s regime frequently uses bogus charges to imprison journalists and crack down on attempts of independent reporting.

CPJ wrote that, “In April 2020, Tehran Judge Iman Afshari convicted Samimi of ‘colluding against national security’ and ‘spreading propaganda against the system’ over his coverage of the protests, and sentenced him to six years in prison, at a hearing without the journalist or his lawyer present, according to that report.”
Samimi contested the April verdict and requested a new trial. In May, according to CPJ, he “was again convicted of collusion, but the propaganda charge was dropped and his sentence was reduced to three years in prison.”

Source » jpost