Iranian journalist Saba Azarpeik

Iranian Journalist Suffers Two Miscarriages Amid Legal and Prison Ordeal

Wednesday, 06/12/2024

The husband of imprisoned journalist Saba Azarpeik disclosed on X that his wife was hospitalized on Tuesday due to severe bleeding, resulting in the termination of her pregnancy.

Ataollah Hafezi further revealed that in February, she lost another fetus at around two months old following a grueling nine-hour court session.

According to Hafezi, conservative presidential candidate and Parliament Speaker Mohammed Bagher Ghalibaf, alongside former MP Mohsen Dehnavi, ordered a legal case against the whistleblower.

Hafezi shared a video of Ghalibaf during a televised interview, in which he assured whistleblowers would be protected from repercussions under his presidency, to demonstrate the irony.

Azarpeik has been a vocal critic of the Iranian establishment, uncovering financial misconduct within its ranks. She is facing charges in two separate cases involving 15 private accusers.

The journalist has already been convicted in one case, receiving a three-year prison sentence and a fine for defamation and spreading false information. The legal proceedings of the other case, with eight private accusers, are ongoing.

Azarpeik's investigative journalism has exposed various corruption scandals, including those within the Tehran Municipality under Ghalibaf and the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Trade under the administrations of both Hassan Rouhani and Ebrahim Raisi.

In 2009, she faced legal repercussions for reporting on police brutality and has been subjected to multiple arrests. In June 2014, she was detained on vague national security charges, enduring 40 days of solitary confinement before being released on bail in August 2014.

According to the 2024 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Iran is one of the world's largest jailers of journalists, cementing itself as one of the most repressive countries for press freedom. The Islamic Republic's targeted repression of journalists has resulted in the country's dismal ranking in the RSF Index, placing it 176th out of 180 countries assessed.

The pervasive censorship surrounding allegations of corruption has reached such heights that even presidential candidates in this month’s snap elections have been cautioned against disclosing each other's misdeeds. The elections follow the sudden death of Ebrahim Raisi and his delegation last month in a helicopter crash.

Each of the Guardian Council's approved presidential candidates, most of whom are close allies of the Supreme Leader, has been granted specific slots for their promotional campaigns on state television. Additionally, the forthcoming week will witness the live broadcasting of presidential debates.

Under the auspices of the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), presidential candidates have received warnings to prevent the tarnishing of the nation's image through their campaign broadcasts.

These warnings include the threat of broadcast suspension. This directive arrives amidst a broader crackdown on media content preceding the elections, emphasizing the imperative for candidates to abstain from defamation and behaviors detrimental to national unity and civic engagement.

The Press Supervisory Board of Iran issued a stern warning, declaring that those found guilty would face a penalty of 74 lashes for violations.

More News