Iran frees Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, jailed for covering Mahsa Amini death

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iran journalistsImage source, Handout

Iran has freed two female journalists jailed for more than a year for covering the death of Mahsa Amini, which triggered nationwide protests.

Niloufar Hamedi, 31, and Elaheh Mohammadi, 36, were released on bail, Iranian media reported.

The reporters are appealing against jail sentences and will remain out of prison until a court makes a decision, reports said.

Ms Amini died in custody after being detained by Iran’s morality police.

She had been held for allegedly violating strict rules requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf.

Iran’s state coroner attributed her death to pre-existing medical conditions, but a UN human rights expert said the evidence established that she died “as a result of beatings” by morality police.

Ms Hamedi, who worked for the reformist newspaper Shargh, broke the news of Ms Amini’s death. She photographed Ms Amini’s father and grandmother embracing after they learned their daughter had died and posted it online with the caption: “The black dress of mourning has become our national flag.”

Ms Mohammadi worked for Ham-Mihan, also a reformist paper, wrote about Ms Amini’s funeral in her hometown of Saqqez. She described how hundreds of mourners cried out “Woman, life, freedom”.

The first protests took place after her funeral and the unrest rapidly spread across the country, with demands ranging from more freedoms to an overthrow of the state.

The two journalists were arrested shortly after the protests started and charged with collaborating with the US government and colluding against national security.

They were given sentences of 13 and 12 years in prison respectively.

Footage on social media showed the released journalists hugging family and friends after their release.

Reports said bail had been set at $200,000 (£155,000) and the women have been banned from leaving the country.

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