Iranian Journalists Demand Release Of Colleagues Detained For Protests Coverage

More than 300 Iranian journalists have published an open letter calling for the release of two colleagues who were detained for their coverage of the death in custody of Mahsa Amini.

The letter was published by the reformist Iranian daily Etemad on October 30. Amini, 22, died days after being detained by the notorious morality police for allegedly violating the country's strict female dress code.

The journalists called for the release of Niloufar Hamedi, who took a photo of Amini's parents embracing in a Tehran hospital where their daughter was lying in a coma. His post of the photo on Twitter was the first report about Amini's case.

The journalists' letter also urged the authorities to release Elahe Mohammadi, who covered Amini's funeral in her hometown of Saghez, at which the protests that later swept the country began.

On October 28, Iran's intelligence services issued a statement accusing Hamedi and Mohammadi of being CIA agents, part of a government narrative claiming without evidence that the United States and other Western powers are behind the unrest.

On October 29, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Hossein Salami, warned that "today is the last day of the riots."

The IRGC warning on October 29 came as the United Nations expressed "increasing concern" about reports of deaths in in the antiestablishment protests in Iran.

"We condemn all incidents that have resulted in death or serious injury to protestors and reiterate that security forces must avoid all unnecessary or disproportionate use of force against peaceful protestors,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York on October 28.

"Those responsible must be held to account," he said, adding that the UN was urging Tehran "to address the legitimate grievances of the population, including with respect to women's rights."

The United Nations urged the Iranian government in Tehran to respect human rights, noting that the crisis can and should be brought under control through dialogue.

The U.S.-based Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) says 272 protesters have been killed in the crackdown against the unrest, including 39 minors. Nearly 14,000 people have been arrested, including at least 40 journalists.

With reporting by Reuters