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UK PM Honors Two Iranians Ahead Of World Press Freedom Day

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UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak paid homage to jailed Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi and Iran International’s host Pouria Zeraati ahead of world press freedom day.

“I’d like to take this chance to pay tribute to all those suffering behind bars in the name of freedom and democracy,” Sunak said at the Society of Editors 25th Anniversary Conference in London on Tuesday.

He expressed solidarity with Mohammadi, who is serving a 12-year prison sentence in Iran, along with facing 154 lashes, two years of exile, and various other social and political restrictions. Despite her imprisonment, Mohammadi has been vocal against the regime’s human rights abuses and the mandatory hijab law.

The prime minister also addressed the recent attack on Pouria Zeraati, who was stabbed outside his London home last month. Zeraati, a prominent journalist at Iran International, suffered leg injuries. This came following multiple threats from Iranian intelligence aimed at journalists of Iran International.

Sunak’s comments came as part of a broader discussion at the conference, which drew editors, academics, lawyers, and journalists together to debate the pressing issues facing the journalism industry today. He underscored the essential role of the media in strengthening democracy by holding governments accountable, exposing corruption, and elevating new voices.

Iran has one of the world’s worst records for press freedom according to Freedom House, with over 70 journalists arrested since the 2022 uprising alone. Among those were the two women to first report the arrest and subsequent death of Mahsa Amini whose death in morality police custody triggered the worst uprising in Iran since the foundation of the Islamic Republic.