Sentence Confirmed For Award Winning Journalist, Jila Baniyaghoub; 1 Year Jail and 30 Years Ban from Journalism

Thursday 28 October 2010

Negahi: An appellate court in Tehran upheld an award winning freelance journalist’s verdict.

Jila Baniyaghoub who is also an activist in the Iranian Women’s movement, is now facing a mandatory sentence of one year in jail and a 30 year ban from journalism.

Throughout the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran, only one other journalist, Ahmad Zeidabadi, has been so severely punished.

Baniyaghoub and her husband were arrested at their residence exactly a week after Iran’s controversial and contested presidential election last year.

After two months, she was able to get out of jail by setting bail. Her husband, however, is currently serving a 5 year sentence at the notorious Evin Prison’s Ward 350.

Bewildered by the severity of her client’s sentence, the defense attorney Farideh Gheyrat called such a harsh verdict against this independent journalist as unjust.

Pointing out that Baniyaghoub had been acquitted of similar charges twice before and that her professional mannerism and journalistic practices had not changed, Gheyrat denied that her client had done anything besides her job of journalism.

Ms. Baniyaghoup is the recipient of several international awards in journalism, with the last ones being for Courage in Journalism for reporting on the condition of women in war torn countries and the battle fields, the International Award for Freedom of Speech, and the Best Weblog Writer form Reporters without Borders. However, now that she is banned from her main source of income it is unclear how she will manage her livelihood.


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