Iran Charges Two Female Journalists Who Broke Story About Amini's Death

Iran's judiciary has charged two female journalists who have reported on the death of Mahsa Amini with propaganda offenses as a government crackdown on unrest and dissent sparked by the tragedy continues.

Judiciary spokesman Massoud Setayeshi told reporters on November 8 that Niloufar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi are accused of colluding with the intention of acting against national security and propaganda against the state.

Hamedi is the journalist who took a photo of Mahsa Amini's parents embracing in a Tehran hospital where their daughter was lying in a coma while in police custody for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly. Her post of the photo on Twitter was the first report about the case.

Amini, 22, died days after being detained by the notorious morality police for allegedly violating the country's strict female dress code. Authorities have blamed "underlying diseases" for the cause of death, but supporters and family members say Amini was beaten while in custody.

Mohammadi covered Amini's funeral in her hometown of Saghez, which marked the beginning of mass protests that have swept across the country.

Iran's intelligence services have accused Hamedi, 30, and Mohammadi, 35, of being CIA agents, part of a government narrative -- put forward without evidence -- that the United States and other Western powers are behind the unrest.

Hundreds of journalists have issued a joint statement criticizing the detention of the two women and the denial of their basic rights, including access to a lawyer.

The protests have seen more than 300 people killed and thousands detained, according to human rights groups. Despite government warnings that the crackdown will intensify, Iranians continue to take to the streets.

Students at the prestigious Sharif University in Tehran on November 8 staged a new demonstration, singing one of the protest anthems that refers to the high number of students who leave Iran, asking them "to stay and take the country back."

The International Monetary Fund says more than 150,000 educated Iranians leave their country each year in the hope of finding a better life abroad.

Videos published on social networks show students and professors at the Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences in western Iran refusing to attend classes in solidarity with the protesters on November 8.

Meanwhile, Amirhossein Sadeghi, a former player for Iranian soccer giant Esteghlal, rejected an invitation from the football federation to participate in the unveiling of the jersey for the Iranian national football team for this month's 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Sadeghi wrote on Instagram that "in a country where the parliament orders killings and the police are ruthless, football has no meaning anymore," a reference to a statement by the Iranian parliament urging the judiciary to approve the death sentence for some protesters

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda