20 شهریور 1390

Journalist Jila Baniyaghoub Summoned to Court for the 5th Time Since the 2009 Presidential Elections

11 September 2011

Translated by Banooye Sabz

Khabarnegaran.info -September 6th, 2011 - [Jaras] - Iranian journalist Jila Baniyaghoub, winner of the Courage in Journalism Award in 2009 and the Freedom of Expression Award from Reporters Without Borders in 2010, was summoned to court yesterday for the 5th time since the 2009 presidential elections.

Baniyaghoub is the wife of Bahman Ahmadi Amoui, an economic journalist who was charged with writing critical articles on the economic policies of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government and incarcerated at Evin prison shortly after the presidential elections.

This time, Baniyaghoub was summoned to the 1057th branch for Government Employees and charged with "insulting the president and officials of the Islamic Republic". This was the second time Baniyaghoub was asked to appear at this particular branch in order to follow up on the charges against her.

Farideh Gheyrat, Baniyaghoub’s lawyer provided the following statement to Jaras: " The charges against my client are in relation to the content of her web blog. My client and I appeared in court and presented a defense against both charges. The case was forwarded to the court as a result of complaints filed by Tehran’s prosecutor."

Baniyaghoub’s lawyer added: "Our main argument was that all the charges presented in this new case, were also present in the previous case against my client, when she was charged with "propaganda against the regime" by the 26th branch of the Revolutionary Court and sentenced to a heavy sentence of one in prison and a 30 year ban from practicing journalism. The judge presiding over this new case however, was of the opinion that Ms. Baniyaghoub’s articles as listed in the previous case were reviewed from the point of view of "propaganda against the regime" and in this current case will be reviewed from the point of view of insulting the president."

Farideh Gheyrat continued: "When defending my client in court I pointed out to the presiding judge that Ms. Baniyagoub’s writings are based on her professional duty as an independent journalist; a duty that compelled her to capture the events in the form of a narrative as they were occurring, for example during demonstrations or gatherings by supporters of a particular presidential candidate. The publication of her observations of the current affairs were by no means meant as insults. It is for this reason that I demanded that the court acquit my client of the aforementioned charges. I have reiterated repeatedly in court that in her capacity as a independent journalist, my client prepared fair and balanced reports regarding the events that occurred both during and after the presidential elections and her intention has never been to insult, nor has she ever insulted anyone."

While expressing satisfaction with the legal conduct of Judge Heydari who presided over the 1057th branch, Gheyrat confirmed that the judge will issue a sentence in the near future.

After the presidential elections in 2009, Jila Baniyaghoub was tried at branch 1054 of the public court in Tehran, the 26th branch of the Revolutionary Court, the 76th branch of the criminal court in Tehran province and the 1057th branch of the Government Employees court respectively.

Source: Jaras: http://www.rahesabz.net/story/42226/

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