An Iranian court sentenced Yashar Soltani, a leading journalist, to five years in prison, the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on January 23rd.
In recent years Soltani has routinely reported on corruption in Iranian public institutions. According to IRNA, the court said Yashar Soltani was guilty of writing false reports and was accused of insulting security and government agencies.
In recent months, authorities have detained several journalists and other activists on security-related charges. Three writers accused of conspiracy against national security, Reza Mahabadi, Keivan Bajan and Bektash Abtin, were also charged with failure to pay bail. Journalist Hamid Ainfand also faces a six year prison sentence following his trial in December. A third court sentenced the activists Reza Khandan and Farhad Mesami, to six years in prison on January 22nd. All these verdicts are subject to appeal.
Amnesty International has criticised the Iranian authorities for arresting more than 7,000 people last year in a "shameless campaign of repression." In a report released on January 24th they said that Iran arrested at least 50 workers employed in media in 2018 and at least 20, "were sentenced to harsh prison or flogging sentences after unfair trials."