DUBAI, May 29 (Reuters) – An Iranian journalist went of trial behind closed doors on Monday on charges linked to her coverage of the funeral of a Kurdish-Iranian woman whose death in custody last year triggered months of unrest, her lawyer told ILNA news agency.
The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in custody of the morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic dress code unleashed a wave of mass protests across Iran for months, marking the biggest challenge to Iran‘s clerical leaders in decades.
Elaheh Mohammadi covered Amini’s funeral in her Kurdish hometown Saqez, where the protests began. The Islamic Republic accused its foreign foes of igniting the protests to destabilise the country.
“The trial of Elaheh Mohammadi went well. The date of the next session will be announced by the court,” her lawyer, Shahabeddin Mirlohi, told ILNA. He was not immediately available for comment.
Mohammadi, a reporter for the pro-reform Hammihan newspaper who is on trial in Tehran, and another journalist, Niloofar Hamedi, of the Sharq newspaper, have been accused of “colluding with hostile powers” for their coverage of Amini’s death.
The charge potentially carries the death penalty under Islamic law.
A joint statement released by Iran’s intelligence ministry in October accused Mohammadi and Hamedi of being CIA foreign agents.
Hamedi took a photo of Amini’s parents hugging each other in a Tehran hospital where their daughter was lying in a coma.
The image, which Hamedi posted on Twitter, was the first signal to the world that all was not well with Amini, who had been detained three days earlier by Iran‘s morality police.
The two journalists, who have been held in Iran‘s notorious Evin prison since last September, will be tried separately. Hamedi’s trial will begin on Tuesday, according to the judiciary.
The Islamic Republic has ignored repeated calls by rights groups for a public trial for the two journalists.
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Nick Macfie)