Iranian journalist Nejat Bahrami has started serving a one-year prison sentence this week, in what the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called another step by authorities to "muzzle" the press.
Bahrami arrived at Tehran’s Evin Prison on May 18 to begin serving his sentence, according to the Persian service of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
It said Bahrami, a freelance columnist who has written for several publications in Iran, was convicted in August 2019 by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran of "spreading propaganda against the system" and "colluding to disturb the public order" over his writing critical of Iran's political establishment.
He was sentenced to one year in prison and a two-year ban on any media activities and joining any political or social factions -- a sentence Bahrami said was upheld by an appeals court last month.
The New York-based CPJ on May 20 urged Iranian authorities to immediately release Bahrami and cease arbitrarily jailing members of the press.
Jailing a journalist during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, "especially one whom authorities already previously released from custody due to health issues, is yet another example of the extreme steps that Iran's judiciary is willing to take to muzzle the press," CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour said in a statement.
Bahrami was arrested in December 2018 over his writings in Iranian publications and on social media, before being released on bail due to health complications, including high blood pressure, according to reports.