Stop the Prosecution of Journalist Andrea Sahouri
On the night of 31 May 2020, police in Iowa, USA, pepper sprayed, arrested, and detained journalist Andrea Sahouri. She was reporting on a Black Lives Matter protest when police arrested and detained her despite repeatedly identifying herself as a journalist.
Send a message to the prosecutors: Reporting is not a crime. Dismiss all charges against journalist Andrea Sahouri.
Andrea told Amnesty that after police in riot gear showed up and ordered protesters to disperse, people began running in multiple directions. As the police fired tear gas, Andrea ran with protesters into a busy commercial intersection and police ran toward them. Even as she kept yelling, “I’m press, I’m press,” she was pepper sprayed on her arms and face twice at close range. The police arrested her cuffed her in zip ties behind her back and placed her in a police van. She was cited for failure to disperse and interference with official acts.
Despite repeated calls for charges to be dropped against Andrea, the prosecutor has insisted on moving ahead with a trial for two simple misdemeanors, which could result in a fine, 30-day jail sentence, or both. This is outrageous. Reporting at a protest scene as a working member of the media is not a crime. It is a right that must be protected.
Amnesty documented Andrea’s case among 125 incidents of human rights abuses by law enforcement officials at Black Lives Matter protests in the USA.