Iran dismisses sexual assault claims of jailed female journalist

Iran’s judiciary charged Thursday that a female journalist, who said she had been sexually assaulted in prison, failed to “report” or “provide any evidence” in support of her claims.

Nazila Maroufian, 23, has been arrested repeatedly since she interviewed the father of 22-year-old Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini, whose death in police custody in September last year sparked months of nationwide protests.

The judiciary’s Mizan Online website said Maroufian’s complaint that she was “beaten and assaulted” during her latest stint in Tehran’s Evin prison had been reported by “hostile media.”

“The investigations carried out on the allegations show that not only had she not provided any reason or evidence for this claim, but until now has not filed any complaint in this regard,” Mizan said.

“Neither Maroufian nor her lawyer filed a complaint in this regard and no report of violence or assault was lodged with prison authorities.”

In his interview with Maroufian, Amini’s father Amjad accused authorities of lying about the circumstances of his daughter’s death.

Maroufian, a Tehran-based journalist from Amini’s hometown of Saqqez in Kurdistan province, was first arrested in November, 2022. She was later released.

She was most recently detained on August 30 for not wearing a headscarf in public.

Her latest arrest came around two weeks after she was released on bail after spending more than a month behind bars.

She had posted a photo of herself without a headscarf.

Last year’s demonstrations saw hundreds of people killed, including dozens of security personnel, and thousands arrested in connection with what officials labelled as foreign-instigated “riots.”

Authorities have questioned or arrested more than 90 journalists since the protests, Iranian media reported last month.

The two women journalists who published Amini’s story, Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, have spent almost a year in Evin prison since their arrest last September.

They have been charged with propaganda against the state and conspiring against national security, and are being tried separately behind closed doors in Tehran.

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