Saturday December 02, 2023

Iran arrests journalist covering Tehran subway incident

October 03, 2023

TEHRAN: An Iranian journalist was arrested on Monday in Tehran after a hospital visit to report on the condition of a teenage girl who had fainted on the subway, the Shargh daily said.

“Maryam Lotfi, the reporter of Shargh newspaper, was arrested,” her publication said on its website. She had gone to Fajr Hospital in the capital “to prepare a news report on the condition of a girl who passed out on the subway” on Sunday, Shargh said.

The circumstances surrounding the incident were unclear, with a senior official denying “rumours” of an altercation with subway workers. The Tehran-based newspaper did not say which agency had apprehended Lotfi or what were the accusations against the journalist.

Iranian authorities have questioned or arrested more than 90 journalists since a nationwide wave of protests last year, local media reported in August.

Reporting on the subway incident, official news agency IRNA said on Monday that “a 16-year-old female student” fainted due to “a drop in blood pressure” as she tried to get on a train.

Masood Dorosti, managing director of the Tehran subway system, denied there was “any verbal or physical conflict” between the student and “passengers or metro executives”. “Some rumours about a confrontation with metro agents... are not true and CCTV footage refutes this claim,” Dorosti told IRNA.

He said the teenager was “currently being treated in hospital” and “we hope that she would return to her family as soon as possible.” Of the dozens of Iranian journalists reportedly questioned or arrested since last year, two reporters, both women, have spent more than a year in prison.