Family Of Iranian Journalist Samimi Deny Reports Of His Release

Iranian journalist Keyvan Samimi reportedly remains in prison despite a weekend report in reformist media suggesting he had been released from Semnan Prison, where he has been serving a two-year sentence for his presence at a protest rally in 2019.

AFP quoted unnamed family on January 2 rejecting a report a day earlier in the Sharq daily saying the 73-year-old member of the Religious Nationalists Council had been freed.

Samimi was imprisoned at Tehran's Evin prison in 2021 to serve a two-year sentence after being found guilty of "assembly and collusion against the state" relating to his attendance of a protest rally in front of parliament marking May Day in 2019.

He was temporarily released in February due to poor health but was sent to Semnan just three months later after he was handed new charges of harming national security.

In December, Samimi reportedly issued a message from prison supporting the ongoing nationwide protests that erupted following the September death in police custody of 22-year-old female student Mahsa Amini after she allegedly wore the mandated head scarf improperly.

Rights groups say the government's violent crackdown on the protests, which have included calls against Iran's clerical leadership, has resulted in nearly 500 deaths, including 62 minors.

Samimi is a former editor in chief of the Nameh and Iran Farda magazines and is thought to be the oldest journalist jailed in Iran.'

Following his rearrest in May, 200 civil and political activists signed a statement declaring that Iran's judicial, security, and political authorities would be responsible for "negligence and misfortune" that Samimi might encounter in prison.

With reporting by AFP