The governor of the city of Saqz, west of Iran, sentenced to skin and fined a journalist accused of “disturbing the public order” because of coverage of the referendum of Iraqi Kurdistan, which Tehran strongly opposed for security reasons.
The Mukryan news agency reported Saturday that the 101st division of the Saqz court issued a judgment against journalist and human rights activist Bakhtiar khoshnam with 74 lashes and fined 19 million riyals for covering the events of the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum in favor of the agency.
Mukryan said the sentence against Khoshnam was “disrupting public order by attending pro-referendum rallies in Kurdistan and sending reports and photographs of these gatherings.”
The Iranian journalist was tried in a closed session without the presence of his lawyer, the agency said.
Khoshnam spent three months in prison in 2017 on charges of propaganda against the Iranian regime for his links with the State Department’s Farsa-based Radio Farda. The Iranian journalist is a member of the International Federation of Journalists.
Iran threatened in September 2017 to carry out a military operation against the Kurdistan region of Iraq if Arbil declared independence.
There are about 7 million Kurds in Iran, as well as activists and parties that have demanded national rights for decades, but Tehran has faced them repression, especially after the Islamic revolution.