Iran: Student ‘arrested in Iran over Facebook comments’, family say
Source: Manchester Evening News – April 02, 2014
A student who went to visit family in Iran has been locked up for five months over comments she made to friends on Facebook, her family say.
Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, from Stockport, was arrested as she stepped off a plane in the provincial city of Shiraz and accused of being a spy, husband Daryoush Taghipoor told the M.E.N.
Daryoush said his 47-year-old wife has been detained at Evin, an infamous prison in Iranian capital Tehran, on suspicion of plotting to commit crimes against security and insulting Islam.
He claimed her arrest was over comments she made on an internet chat forum and to friends on Facebook about the Iranian government being too controlling and ‘too Islamic’.
Part-time chef Daryoush and Roya, an English student at Stockport College, have lived in Heald Green for six years and are naturalised British citizens.
Daryoush, of Hathaway Close, said his wife had done nothing wrong and feared for her life.
The 47-year-old, speaking from Iran, added: “It’s a very bad situation. We don’t know what’s going on. Roya is not well at all. She has lost three stone and is frightened. She is scared that the government will kill her.”
Roya travelled to Tehran to see family in October last year. About two weeks into the trip she flew to Shiraz to visit a friend and was arrested at the airport. It is understood she is being remanded in Evin prison, known for its political prisoners, while she awaits a trial.
Family friend Nasser Homayoun-Fekri, from Offerton, has written to his MP Andrew Stunell, asking for him to put pressure on the British government to intervene.
Mr Fekri told the M.E.N. that, despite moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani winning Iran’s presidential vote last year, he believes the country remains one of the world’s most notorious human rights abusers when it comes to arrests, detentions and trials.
He added: “Roya is not a political activist in any way. She is just a normal citizen. The authorities don’t clarify why she has been arrested and Daryoush insists the charges are based on a confession extracted from Roya under duress. The government needs to do all that us feasible to get the release of this innocent British citizen.”
The British Embassy in Tehran is closed but Ajay Sharma, Head of Iran Department at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), is currently acting as a diplomat between the two countries as part of an agreement made in February.
Mr Stunell, Hazel Grove MP, said: “I am concerned about this arbitrary arrest and am urgently asking the FCO to make inquiries on her behalf.”