Zhina Modares Gorji, a journalist and women’s rights activist, has been sentenced to a total of 21 years in prison by Branch One of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has learned.

The court sentenced Modares Gorji to 10 years in prison on charges of “forming an illegal group with the aim of overthrowing the regime”, to 10 years for “collaborating with hostile groups and states”, and to one year for “propaganda against the state”.

The final court session took place on 9 April, presided over by Judge Karami, with the verdict communicated to the activist’s lawyers in recent days.

Under the Iranian law on the consolidation of sentences, the maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment will be enforced, accompanied by exile to Hamedan prison.

Modares Gorji’s legal team has formally appealed the harsh sentence, which will now be reviewed by the provincial appeals court.

The accusations against Modares Gorji included “establishing the Zhivano Association with a feminist ideology aimed at overthrowing the state”, “participating in gatherings and chanting subversive slogans”, “maintaining contacts with anti-revolutionary elements”, “attending international educational conferences and workshops”, and “publishing materials in cyberspace and giving interviews to foreign media to negatively portray the country and create unrest following the death of Mahsa Amini”.

The Islamic Revolutionary Court also referred the charge of “spreading lies and inciting people to commit acts of violence” to the Criminal Court, which has now been sent to Criminal Court Two of Sanandaj for review.

The court based its decision on reports from the Ministry of Intelligence, citing “security risks” in serving her sentence in Sanandaj due to “the possibility of destructive security activities”. As a result, under Article 513 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Modares Gorji will serve her sentence in Hamedan prison.


Modares Gorji, a journalist and a prominent veteran activist of the women’s movement in Kurdistan and Iran, was first beaten and arrested during the anti-government uprising of Women, Life, Freedom in Sanandaj on 21 September 2022.

After 42 days, she was temporarily released on 1 November 2022 on bail of 1 billion Iranian rials – nearly 2,000 USD, which was later increased to 10 billion rials after new charges were brought against her.

She was arrested a second time by security forces on 10 April 2023, and after 84 days was temporarily released from the women’s ward of the Juvenile Detention Centre of Sanandaj on 3 July 2023 on a hefty bail of 50 billion rials.

She spent the first month of her detention in solitary confinement under harsh conditions.

Between her two arrests, she was constantly under pressure and surveillance by security agencies and the judiciary.

In April of this year, the Sanandaj Municipality’s police in charge of supervising public facilities and locations also sealed off her bookstore, Zhira, for several days on the pretext of “failing to observe Islamic hijab.”

The first court session to address the charges against the Kurdish women’s activist was held on 12 February 2023, in Branch One of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj, presided over by Judge Akbari, the second session was held on 13 September 2023, in the same court presided over by Judge Saeidi, and the third session was held on 9 April 2024, presided over by Judge Karami.