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CPJ Denounces Iranian Journalist’s 'Sham Trial, Harsh Sentence'

Evin prison

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned the prison sentence recently imposed on Iranian journalist Hamed Aynehvand and urged the country’s authorities to “stop persecuting the media for doing their job.”

Aynehvand's “sham trial and harsh sentence demonstrate the flawed nature of the Iranian justice system," Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa program coordinator at the New York-based media rights watchdog, said in a statement on January 14.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted Aynehvand's lawyer as saying last month that the journalist had been sentenced to six years in prison by Tehran's Revolutionary Court on charges of "propaganda against the state" and "assembly and collusion against national security."

The lawyer, Hossein Bayat, said he will appeal the sentence.

The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), citing the friend of Aynehvand, reported that the journalist was denied a lawyer of his choosing and that he was tried and convicted without the presence of his lawyer.

Aynehvand’s articles on political and judicial issues in Iran have been published by several media outlets in the country, including the government-owned daily newspaper Iran, and news sites based abroad such as Gooya, Zeitoon, and Iran Global, according to CHRI.

Agents of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' intelligence unit arrested him in Tehran in June last year and kept him in solitary confinement at Evin prison for a month and a half, CHRI said.

Eight journalists were found to be imprisoned in Iran in direct relation to their work at the time of the CPJ's December 2018 prison census.

Aynehvand was not included on the census because the group was not aware of his case at the time.