Rights watchdog condemns arrest of Iranian photojournalist

Rights watchdog condemns arrest of Iranian photojournalist
(Credit: Yalda Moaiery)
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Updated 21 September 2022

Rights watchdog condemns arrest of Iranian photojournalist

Rights watchdog condemns arrest of Iranian photojournalist
  • Reporter detained by security forces while covering anti-state protests in Tehran

LONDON: The Committee to Protect Journalists has demanded the immediate release of Iranian photojournalist Yalda Moaiery, who was arrested by authorities while covering anti-state protests in Tehran.

“Iranian authorities must understand that they can’t hide the country’s nationwide anti-state protests by jailing journalists,” Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, said on Tuesday.

“Authorities must free photojournalist Yalda Moaiery immediately and unconditionally, and cease the practice of arbitrarily locking up members of the press at this critical moment for Iran,” he added.

Protests erupted across the country last week following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was detained by morality police after allegedly violating Iran’s compulsory hijab law.

Women took to the streets on Saturday to protest against police brutality and demand a relaxation of Islamic law under which women are required to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothes.

Many also posted videos on social media of themselves chopping off their hair and setting their hijabs on fire.

According to exile-based Iranian human rights group Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, at least seven other people have been killed during the protests.


Moaiery was reportedly hit during her arrest and forced into a van with tens of other female protesters before being taken to Qarchak prison, a female-only detention facility in the city of Varamin, southeast of Tehran.

“In the event that anything happens to me (while in custody), it is the responsibility of the ruling system,” she wrote in an Instagram post.

Throughout her career, Moaiery has documented conflicts and natural disasters in parts of the world including Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. Her photographs have been featured in international magazines and newspapers, such as Time, Newsweek, San Francisco Chronicle, Le Monde and El Pais.

In 2019, she gained notoriety when she spoke out against President Donald Trump after he used one of her photos to hit out at the Iranian regime.

This is not the first time Iranian women have come together to protest against being forced to wear the hijab. Last July, women shared photos and videos of their heads unveiled on Iran’s National Day of Hijab and Chastity.

In 2018, a Girls of Revolution Street’s protest, a movement started after a woman took off her headscarf in central Tehran, led to the arrest of 29 people.

According to media rights group Reporters Without Borders, Iran is one of the world’s 10 worst countries in terms of media freedom and ranks 178 out of 180 countries on the 2022 World Press Freedom Index.