|Born||21 August 1970|
|Alma mater||Allameh Tabatabai University|
Kanoon Zanan Irani
|Spouse(s)||Bahman Ahmadi Amouee|
|Awards||Courage In Journalism Award (2009)
RSF Freedom of Speech Award (2010)
Jila Baniyaghoob (or Zhīlā Banī Yaʻqūb, Persian: ژيلا بنى يعقوب ; born 21 August 1970) is an Iranian journalist and women's rights activist. She is the editor-in-chief of the website Kanoon Zanan Irani ("Focus on Iranian Women"). Baniyaghoob is married to fellow journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amou'i, an editor at Sarmayeh, a business newspaper.
While still a student at Allameh Tabatabai University, Baniyaghoob began working in journalism for the daily newspaper Hamshahri. She focused on women's issues from the beginning of her career, though this often meant being fired from various jobs. She covered countries including Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Syria, and worked at a series of pro-reform newspapers, most of which were later banned by the Iranian government. While working at the pro-reform daily Sarmayeh, she wrote a section reporting on women's economic issues. The section was cancelled in 2008 by the newspaper's more conservative management.
She was first imprisoned by Iranian authorities in June 2006 while reporting on an assault by security forces on a women's rights rally. Authorities charged her with "acting against national security" and "participating in an illegal demonstration", but she was acquitted in January 2007.
On 8 March 2007, she was again arrested during a rally for International Women's Day, held near Iran's parliament building. She was then taken Evin Prison and interrogated blindfolded in the "notorious" Section 209, the detention center of the Iranian secret police. She was held there for one week, and later wrote a book about the experience.
In 2008, she was imprisoned a third time for covering a women's rally, on charges of "disruption of public order, failure to obey police orders and propagandizing against the Islamic regime".
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, both Baniyaghoob and her husband were arrested at their home by plainclothes police officers, as part of a general crackdown on journalists. Amou'i was jailed that year on charges of "gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security", "spreading propaganda against the system", "disrupting public security" and "insulting the president". In 2010, 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.
On 2 September 2012, she was summoned to Evin Prison to begin the sentence. Amnesty International designated her a prisoner of conscience, "held solely for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression", and called for her to be released and allowed to resume her profession.
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". The following year, she won the Freedom of Speech Award of Reporters Without Borders.
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