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RSF: On International Women’s Day 27 Female Journalists Are Victims Of Persecution In Iran, China...

on March 8, 2019 - 8:34am
Photos of several of the 27 women journalists imprisoned, some being tortured in jails around the world. Iran and China are the two largest jailers of women journalists. Courtesy/RSF
Women journalists held in prisons around the world. Courtesy/RSF
RSF News:
As the world marks International Women’s Day today, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) points out that 27 women journalists are detained around the world.
Some are being held in inhuman conditions. Some have been the victims of torture and sexual harassment. RSF calls for their immediate and unconditional release.

As more and more women take up journalism, so too have women journalists increasingly been the victims of ruthless persecution by authoritarian regimes. According to RSF’s tally, of the 334 journalists in prison at the end of February, 27 of them – or 8 percent – were women. Five years ago, only 3% of imprisoned journalists were women.

These women journalists are being held by nine countries. Iran and China are the two largest jailers of women journalists, with seven held in each country. They are followed by Turkey which – despite freeing the famous Kurdish journalist and artist Zehra Doğan two weeks ago – continues to detain four other women journalists. Saudi Arabia is holding three women journalists, Vietnam two and Egypt, Bahrain, Syria and Nicaragua are each holding one.

Targeted for what they write, charged with the worst crimes

Although targeted by the authorities because of their articles or social network posts, these women  are usually held on charges of “terrorist propaganda” or “membership of a terrorist group,” as in Turkey and Egypt, or for “suspicious contacts with foreign entities,” as in Saudi Arabia. Although vague and unsubstantiated, allegations of this kind are used to impose long jail terms.

In Iran, journalist and human rights defender Narges Mohammadi and Paineveste blog editor Hengameh Shahidi were sentenced to 10 and 12 years in prison respectively on charges of “conspiring against national security and the Islamic Republic” and “insulting” the head of the judicial system. Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, who has British and Iranian dual citizenship, initially received a 20-year prison sentence in 2014 for her Facebook posts. It was later reduced to five years.

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