Iranian journalists Saba Azarpeik and Yashar Soltani

Two Iranian Investigative Journalists Arrested

Sunday, 06/09/2024

Yashar Soltani and Saba Azarpeik, two prominent Iranian journalists known for their reporting on corruption, have been arrested to serve their sentences, according to Shargh newspaper.

Both journalists have been vocal critics of the Iranian government, exposing financial wrongdoing within its ranks.

Soltani faces a 13-month sentence for “spreading lies to disturb the public's mind."

Azarpeik is facing charges in two separate cases, with a total of 15 private accusers. She has been convicted in one case and sentenced to two years in prison and a fine for “defamation and publishing false information.” The legal process of the other case with eight private accusers is also under review and the final verdict has not been issued.

Soltani served jail time in 2016 for uncovering financial corruption within the Tehran Municipality during the leadership of current parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf.

In an interview in October, Soltani lamented the persistence of corruption, highlighting how corrupt individuals remain unscathed despite exposure. He further criticized the Iranian justice system's alleged bias towards those close to the regime's core, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's inner circle.

Azarpeik 's investigative work brought to light various corruption cases, including corruption within the Tehran Municipality under Ghalibaf and corruption within the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade under both Hassan Rouhani and Ebrahim Raisi's administrations.

Her commitment to exposing wrongdoing has come at a cost. She faced legal repercussions in 2009 for reporting on police brutality and has been arrested on multiple occasions. 

Detained in June 2014 on vague national security charges, she was held in solitary confinement for 40 days before release on bail in August 2014.

The arrests of Soltani and Azarpeik highlight the challenges faced by journalists who dare to challenge the status quo in Iran.

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