Newsflash: Iranian Journalist Silenced For 30 Years

Leading Iranian journalist Jila Baniyaghoob has been sentenced to one year in prison and banned from publishing writing for 30 years. Baniyaghoob, 39, was found guilty of “propaganda” for writing about last year’s disputed presidential election in reformist newspapers. Her sentence is part of a bigger Iranian regime crackdown on any dissenting voices. Despite much of the global community’s support, Iran’s protesters, the Green Movement, are still being harassed and imprisoned by the regime.

Most of Baniyaghoob’s writing is in Farsi, but some of her blog is in English. Her observations weren’t limited to Iran. In one post, she writes about taking a trip to Afghanistan. Going through customs, she comments on Afghan women:

Some of the women officers are dressed formally in skirts and jackets. Others are wearing short headscarves and a long-sleeved shoulder-to-knee uniform. It’s intriguing to see all these female civil servants at the port of entry of a country notorious for limiting the role of women. I wonder if they are there merely as window-dressing, to make a good impression on foreigners: “Afghan women are not as neglected as we thought!”

Baniyaghoob’s husband, journalist Bahman Ahmadi-Amooi, is already in prison for his work. She wrote this piece for him in November on their wedding anniversary. In it, she reminisces about their wedding day, and offers him hope:

I know that my loneliness is one of your biggest worries these days. But I am not alone. You don’t know how good our people are. The Green Movement has opened people’s hearts to each other and brought them closer together.

Baniyaghoob’s received the International Women’s Media Foundation courage award in 2009.

Let’s take this as a moment to remember why that freedom of the press thing is so important.

Photo from Creative Commons Share Alike License 2.0


  1. Zendegi says:

    The international community needs to better support those fighting to end the oppresive theocratic regime in Iran. It’s a sad joke that Iran is now on the UN Commission for the Status of Women, when they deny women basic human rights (age for being tried as an adult is 9 for girls (while it is 15 for boys), women cannot be judges and her testimony counts only half that of a man’s, compulsory hejab, etc.). For those of you trying to improve human rights in Iran, I thank you profoundly – you are the bravest there is.

    Correction: Baniyaghoob is writing in Farsi (Persian), not Arabic.

  2. Correction made, thanks!


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