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TypeDaily business newspaper
EditorSaeed Laylaz, Bahman Ahmadi Amouee
Staff writersJila Baniyaghoob
Ceased publication2009

Sarmayeh (in Persian سرمایه lit. The Capital) was a daily business newspaper published in Iran until it was banned from publishing by the Iranian government, and several of its reporters and editors were arrested on state security charges in 2009.


Sarmayeh's editorial stance was pro-reform.[1] Reporter Jila Baniyaghoob wrote a section for a time discussing women's economic issues, but the section was cancelled in 2008 by the newspaper's more conservative management.[2] Baniyaghoob's husband, editor Bahman Ahmadi Amouee, regularly critiqued the Iranian government's economic policies, calling the nation one of the most corrupt in the world.[3] In 2008, he wrote an article questioning why the government could not account for US$238 billion in oil revenues.[4]

2009 arrests and banning[edit]

Beginning in June 2009, Iran saw widespread protests following a disputed election in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected amid allegations of voter fraud. On the night of 20 June, husband-and-wife Sarmayeh team Baniyaghoob and Amouee were arrested at their home by plainclothes police officers, as part of a general crackdown on journalists.[5] On 4 January 2010, Amouee was sentenced to a flogging of 32 lashes as well as seven years and four months' imprisonment on charges of "gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security", "spreading propaganda against the system", "disrupting public security" and "insulting the president".[6] In the same month, Baniyaghoob was tried and convicted for "spreading propaganda against the system" and "insulting the president". The court banned her from practicing journalism for thirty years and sentenced her to a year in prison.[7] Editor Saeed Laylaz was also arrested.[1]

Amnesty International designated both Amouee and Baniyaghoob to be prisoners of conscience, "detained solely for their peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression", and called for their immediate release.[7][6] Human Rights Watch also lobbied for Amouee's release, stating that his imprisonment was a violation of freedom of speech; in 2011, the organization named him a winner of its Hellmann-Hammett award.[8] In 2009, the International Women's Media Foundation awarded Baniyaghoob its Courage In Journalism prize, stating that she had "fearlessly reported on government and social oppression, particularly as they affect women".[9] The following year, she won the Freedom of Speech Award of Reporters Without Borders.[10]

On 2 November 2009, the press supervisory board of Iran banned Sarmayeh.[1] Four more publications close to the Green Movement were also banned in Iran in 2009, including Hayat-e-No.[11]


  1. ^ a b c Fredrik Dahl (2 November 2009). "Iran bans pro-reform business daily". Reuters. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Jila Baniyaghoob, Iran". International Women's Media Foundation. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  3. ^ Satereh Sabety (17 October 2009). "Worse than Shah-era Capitulation Laws". Frontline. PBS. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  4. ^ Omid Memarian (22 December 2008). "Ahmadinejad plans budget cut as oil price falls". Inter Press Service  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  5. ^ Angela Charlton (21 June 2009). "At least 24 reporters arrested in Iran". Associated Press  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Iran: Further Information: Three Iranian Journalists Sentenced". Amnesty International. 8 July 2010. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Iran must release prisoner of conscience Zhila Bani-Yaghoub". Amnesty International. 3 September 2012. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  8. ^ "Iran: End Abuse of Imprisoned Journalists". Human Rights Watch. 13 July 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  9. ^ "Belarus, Cameroon, Iran, Israel journalists cited". Associated Press  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). 18 May 2009. Archived from the original on 29 March 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  10. ^ "Iranian Journalist Charged Over 'Unauthorized Blog'". Radio Free Europe. 4 September 2012. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  11. ^ Hossein Mohammadi (12 December 2009). "Critical Press Under Constant Pressure". Rooz Online. Retrieved 15 October 2013.

See also[edit]