Sept. 28, 2022
Niloofar Hamedi is an Iranian journalist who reports on social affair for the daily Shargh. She was arrested at her home by security agents on Thursday, September 22, 2022, following nationwide protests after Mahsa Amini was killed by the morality police.
Earlier, Hamedi had posted a video of a member of morality police who had shot at a married couple on April 28, 2022, in Tehran’s Pardisan Park. In an interview with Hamedi that was published in the newspaper Shargh the couple said that the police had supported the agent and had accused them of violating hijab laws.
It is not yet known on what charges Niloofar Hamedi has been arrested. Her lawyer Mohammad Ali Kamfirouzi has confirmed her arrest and has reported that the security agents searched her home and confiscated her belongings. According to him, Hamedi is being held in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin prison, where she has been interrogated. She has not been told of any charges against her.
On September 16, Hamedi managed to gain access to Kasra Hospital in Tehran where the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was being treated following her detention by the morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab inappropriately. That same Friday, Hamedi tweeted a photo of Amini's parents crying in the hospital.
The picture quickly spread along with Hamedi's reporting on Amini's death, eventually spiraling into nationwide protests that have so far seen many people killed and to renewed calls for the end of the mandatory headscarf and the so-called morality police who brutally enforce it.
According to one of her colleagues at Shargh, speaking to Middle East Eye on condition of anonymity, the impact of her reporting was "massive". "She has always been a brave journalist, and her bold reports have made society aware," she said. Another colleague at the newspaper said: "If it weren't for her courage, the tragic incident that happened to Mahsa Amini would not have been reported to the media so quickly."
Niloofar Hamedi was also one of the first people who interviewed the family and the lawyer of Sepideh Rashnu, a 28-year-old artist and editor, who was arrested on July 16, 2022, after she was filmed arguing with a woman on a bus over forced hijab. Two weeks later, state TV aired a program showing her giving a forced confession while signs of beatings were visible even on her face.