Rebellious, Resilient, Iran’s Women Defy the Mullahs’ Rule
A Special Report by the Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
Copyright©2018 by Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Women, driving force of protests
The “women’s year” – March 2017 – February 2018 — kicked off with women teachers actively participating in demonstrations in more than 20 cities across Iran on Thursday, March 9, 2017.
The trend of protests experienced fluctuations until summer, when it started to pick up steadily from August to December with women undertaking an increasingly active role in the protests against fraudulent financial firms that have cheated people and plundered their deposits and life-time savings.
Then in late December, a major wave of protests erupted all across the country in 142 cities lasting incessantly for two weeks into January despite massive government clampdown, targeting the top figureheads and demanding regime change.
Progressive trend of women’s active participation
March – Nationwide teachers’ protests
The teachers’ demonstrations on March 9, were held in Mashhad, Bojnourd, Ferdows, Torbat-e Heydarieh, Mazandaran, Sanandaj, Saqqez, Marivan, Qorveh, Tabriz, Ardebil, Zanjan, Shiraz, Boushehr, Isfahan, Kermanshah, Kangan, Dehgolan, Lordegan, Ahwaz, Aligoudarz, and of course in Tehran, across from the mullahs’ parliament.
Thousands of female teachers and staff of the Education Ministry demanded freedom of imprisoned teachers, balancing of their salaries and insurances, elimination of discrimination, and lifting of restrictions imposed on them. Many women had brought their children along.
These protests continued again on March 12, with retired teachers, including a large number of women, joining in and demanding increase in insurance services for the retired and improvement of their living conditions.
Also the families of political prisoners massacred in summer 1988 commemorated their loved ones on the last Friday of the Persian year, on March 17, 2017, according to the Iranian tradition.
April – Start of protests against plunder
In April, on the fourth day of registration for the Iranian elections, a woman went to the Interior Ministry and voiced her protest against plunder of her wealth by government-backed institutions in front of the cameras. She said, “I invested in a licensed institution, the Caspian Credit Institute. I have not come here to (register to) become a president. But what shall we do? It has been five months that they have not given us our interests nor have they returned our money.”
A number of women staged a gathering outside the Central Bank of Iran on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. They thus protested to the Caspian Financial Institution which had failed to refund their deposits.
Dozens of women held a protest rally on Monday morning, April 24, 2017, in front of the presidential office in Tehran. The women accused state officials of plundering their lands in Tehran.
May – Blasting the sham presidential election
A wide range of women including political prisoners and activist mothers issued declarations boycotting the regime’s sham presidential elections.
In a letter dated May 3, 2017, political prisoner Maryam Akbari Monfared wrote from prison:
“This regime is not capable of reform and it does not bear any trace of moderation, because it is unprincipled and does not have any roots. It is illegitimate in the eyes of the Iranian people, so my vote is NO to the Islamic regime.”
Atena Daemi, announced on the 40th day of her hunger strike in Evin Prison, that she will not participate in the elections. “Indeed, what is there to vote for? Poverty? Continued sanctions for human rights violations? Group executions? Repression and censorship? Forcible hijab and religion? I will not participate in this sham election.”
Imprisoned human rights activist Golrokh Iraee sent an open letter from Evin Prison and wrote, “I will refuse to take part in the election which is just a show of force for a monopolist rule of oppression and tyranny and is aimed at fooling the public. And I will actively endeavor to create an atmosphere for freedom of activity for all parties in an Iran that is free from the yoke of despotism…”
Mrs. Sholeh Pakravan, human rights and anti-death penalty activist, published an audio file in which she declared, “I will not vote for the murderers of thousands of youths. I will not vote for the thieves who plunder my country.”
Shahin Mahinfar, a human rights activist, denounced the Iranian regime’s upcoming elections and declared that she “will not vote for the murderers of (our) children.” Ms. Mahinfar’s young son, Amir Arshad Tajmir, was ran over by security forces’ vehicle during an uprising on December 27, 2009.
Young artist and former political prisoner, Atena Farghadani, sketched a new cartoon mocking the sham election in Iran. In her Facebook account, she explained, “Another four years will be added to what we have had over the past 38 years. For another four years, the rulers of this land will become richer, filling their pockets with more of the national resources, and the people will remain destitute trying to earn a living.”
At the same time protests in cities and universities continued. From May 26 to 30, women wore shrouds in Mashhad, blocked the road in Ahwaz, also staged protests and sit-ins in Aligoudarz, Borujerd, Delfan, Doroud, Noorabad, Azna, and in Khorramabad in the western province of Lorestan to protest being cheated and swindled by state-backed financial institutes. There were also protests in Tehran and Yasouj by doctors and medical student, nurses and hospital staff, teachers and educators, demanding various demands including payment of past due wages.
More than 1,000 women, teachers, staged a major protest outside the parliament in Tehran on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, demanding determination of their employment status. Protesters had converged in Tehran from Alborz, Khorasan Razavi, Tehran, Mazandaran, Khuzistan and Qazvin provinces.
Girl students boarding at Massoumeh dormitory of Chamran University of Ahwaz staged a gathering on June 14, in the dorm’s courtyard in protest to the dormitory’s dysfunctional cooling system. The dormitory’s security forces closed the door on students who wanted to leave the dormitory and join the gathering, a measure which lead to the students’ protest.
Students staged another protest on June 15, calling for the resignation of the university president whom they described as incompetent. Ahwaz is the capital of the oil-rich province of Khuzistan, southwestern Iran.
The majority of protests in this month were staged by students and women who had lost their savings by depositing in duplicitous financial institutes.
July – August – September
Summer 2017 saw at least 58 acts of protest either staged by women or actively participated by them. Twenty-seven protests took place in the month of September, 20 in the month of August and 11 in July. These months coincided with massive crackdown campaigns on women as the ruling misogynous regime attempted to curb women’s tendency to somehow get rid of the mandatory veil in the heat of summer.
This is an average of almost 19 protests per month, which denotes a significant rise compared to the average 8.5 women’s protests in 2016.
The rise in the number of protests was particularly due to the large number of protests and sit-ins staged by women who had suffered losses at the hands of government-backed financial institutes. Women actively participated in numerous protests across the country, in front of the Iranian parliament (Majlis), and the Central Bank in Tehran to demand refund of their deposits plundered by financial institutes such as Caspian, Arman, Padideh, etc.
Nurses staged 13 protests including nationwide protests on August 6, in protest to a plan by the Ministry of Health intending to train nurses in hospitals rather than universities. They called for termination of this plan which they say will take back the country’s nursing system at least 50 years and is against all economic standards. Other protests concerned the nurses’ past-due salaries and overtime wages. The protesters had not received their salaries from six to 11 months.
The social atmosphere was extremely volatile in the month of October. Women actively participated at the forefront of at least 89 protests in this month. Compared to the 27 protests in September, this shows more than a three-fold increase. And compared to the average number of monthly protests last year (8.5), it shows more than a ten-fold growth.
The largest number of protests were staged by plundered people whose savings and deposits have been looted by state-backed financial institutes. They staged sit-ins for consecutive days in the capital and various cities. Women took part even with their children at their side.
On October 23, thousands of plundered people from cities across the country converged in Tehran and marched towards the mullahs’ parliament where they demanded their money back.
At least 77 protests were registered by the NCRI Women’s Committee in the month of November where women were actively and prominently present.
Women plundered by state-backed credit institutes, a large number of women trained as nurses, bank employees, literacy teachers, wives of mineworkers in the southern province of Kerman, hundreds of young women studying at Tehran’s Kharazmi and Melli universities, Medical Sciences University of Bojnourd, Oil Industries University in Abadan and Ahwaz, and Chamran University in Ahwaz, were among the social sectors staging protests in this month.
By December 28, women took part in at least 68 protests. Students, teachers, nurses and interns, retirees, plundered people, and other discontented social sectors staged the protests with more radical chants, targeting heads of the three branches of the government.
In one of the protests in Rasht, capital of Gilan Province in northern Iran, participants were mostly women who pelted eggs and rotten tomatoes and sprayed paint at the building of the credit institution which had plundered them.
In Ahwaz, capital of Khuzistan Province in southwestern Iran, protesters followed a woman leader chanting anti-government slogans.
Twenty-one protests took place in the second half of this month following the nationwide uprising.
Plundered women, students, teachers and village women staged protests despite government crackdown that had led to 8000 arrests including hundreds of women.
December 28, 2017 – Mid-January, 2018
As December was coming to a close, the simmering wave of discontent took on a sharp turn and erupted into radical anti-government protests all over the country calling for regime change, shaking the earth underneath the clerical regime, and overshadowing all other issues.
Sparked by a 10,000-strong demonstration on December 28 in Mashhad, the second largest city of Iran in the North East, against skyrocketing prices, the protest spread in a matter of only four days, to 142 cities all across the country and evolved into a nationwide uprising.
Women were numerous, loud and active in these protests, fearlessly confronting armed security forces despite being empty handed, encouraging others to not fear and carry on, inviting everyone to join the protests, leading the chants of “death to the dictator”, tearing down the images of Khamenei in every city and fending off security forces trying to apprehend young protesters.
Observers believe that conditions will never go back to the pre-uprising status.
Eyewitnesses have attested that women’s courage was the driving force everywhere in all scenes of protests and demonstrations.
Women’s remarkable role and unprecedented courage were also registered by the foreign press.
Heroic women fighting for freedom – Take note, those of you who want to see real women freedom fighters, look into the streets of Iran… (Gatestone Institute, Khadija Khan)
Women are the face of the protests in Iran – Women are risking the most to speak out against the Iranian mullahs. (Independent Women’s Forum – Charlotte Hays)
The most striking images coming out of the Iran human rights protests are not of men – they are of women. (Fox News – Stephen L. Miller)
This truth was acknowledged by an IRGC commander. Rassoul Sanaii Rad, political deputy to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, told a Friday prayer gathering in Tehran, “80 per cent of those arrested were under 30 years and among them were a number of middle-aged women. In the 1980s, too, the PMOI’s street protests were led mostly by women. Today, too, the main ring of incitement and start of the protests were made up of women. For example, the riots in Ilam were started by four of these women.” (The state-run Jahan News website – January 27, 2018)
PAYING THE PRICE OF FREEDOM
The Iranian regime responded to these extensive protests by massive clampdown and arrests.
As political prisoner Atena Daemi stated in her call on protesters, “Such crackdowns and murders, are the price for freedom. This price must be paid and we will pay it.”
Golrokh Iraee also sent a message to protesters, urging them to carry on with their continued protests, persevere and pay the price of freedom.
The two courageous women who had dared to join the ranks of protesters from behind the bars were later brutalized and banished to a notorious women’s prison in Varamin, in retaliation.
What we can read through these lines is that Iranian women are aware of the difficulties of struggle against the brutal mullahs’ regime and are prepared to pay the price.
Hundreds of women were arrested during the nationwide uprising.
Dozens of girl students are among those arrested. The arrests of Touran Mehraban, Leila Hosseinzadeh, Faezeh Abdipour, Yasamin Mahboubi, Soha Mortezaii, Negin Arameshi, Neda Ahmadi, and Sepideh Farhan have been confirmed so far and reported by the NCRI Women’s Committee. Touran Mehraban, Faezeh Abdipour and Leila Hosseinzadeh have been released after the protests of their families and friends.
The state-run media in Iran have acknowledged in different reports the arrests of at least 21 women in 9 days of the uprising.
Six women, who according to the police of Robat Karim (Tehran Province), three of them had instrumental role in the protests were arrested in the town of Parand, 14 women were arrested in Arak and one woman in Saveh. These have been announced by the state-run press and media. The actual figures however are much higher.
At least seven women in Saqqez, and another seven Kurdish women in the cities of Orumiyeh, Kermanshah and Ilam, and two women in Mashhad have been arrested in the days after the uprisings. Reports indicate that an unknown number of prisoners are held or interrogated in secret detention centers or in the detention centers of the Intelligence Ministry and the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
According to the sources of the National Council of Resistance inside Iran, at least 400 women were among those arrested in the course of the recent protests in the city of Izeh, in southwestern Khuzistan Province.
In Tehran, the family of arrested woman Sepideh Farhan (Farahabadi) has been following up her freedom to no avail. They have been told that their daughter is not going to be released for the time being. She is deprived of the basic right to have an attorney and to have family visitations.
Post uprising arrests continue.
On January 15, 2018, the regime’s security forces in an inhuman mearsure, took hostage the mother of a student activist in Tabriz to compel him to report in. This student activist is in Turkey and his mother suffers from heart complications.
On Saturday, January 20, 2018, the State Security Force in Robat Karim ran over a woman participating in the protest of people cheated by financial institutes.
DETAINED FOR SPEAKING OUT
At least 100 women activists, dissidents and opponents have been arrested and detained in Iran over the past year since January 2017.
The figure does not include those arrested and detained before this date, and is limited to the cases whose information has been registered. Certainly, more apprehensions have taken place secretly without the news leaking out.
There have also been cases like the case of an unidentified woman who fainted during a Tehran protest on October 23, 2017, and disappeared after the State Security forces took her away, ostensibly to a hospital. Such incidents have not been included in this review.
A glance at each case reveals a lot about the violations of citizens’ rights in Iran and the type of people who are targeted by the regime.
At the same time, it tells a lot about the courage of Iranian women activists and opponents and persistence on their demands.
Political prisoners and prisoners of conscience
Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on January 22, 2017, as she was leaving home and heading for the hospital where her imprisoned husband was supposed to be tested that day.
The IRGC Sarallah Corps transferred her to the Department of Implementation of the Verdicts at Evin Prison.
A human rights defender and writer, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee has been sentenced to six years in prison for writing a story about the cruel practice of stoning.
Security forces had stormed Ms. Iraee’s residence on October 24, 2016, and taken her away to serve her six-year prison term. But she was released on January 3, 2017, after 72 days of hunger strike by her imprisoned husband, Arash Sadeghi, who protested her unjust apprehension.
The Prosecutor’s Office had promised Mr. Sadeghi that they would free his wife if he ended his hunger strike which had made headlines around the world including inside the oucntry. But they did not deliver on their promise, first by summoning Ms. Iraee and then by forcibly taking her back to prison on January 22.
In a statement on January 25, 2017, Amnesty International urged the Iranian authorities to “immediately and unconditionally release” the couple.
Ms. Iraee’s appeal for revision of her case was rejected on July 20, 2017 by the 33rd Branch of the Supreme Court.
Golrokh Iraee has remained one of the most outspoken prisoners throughout her detention.
In her letter to Zeinab Jalalian, another political prisoner who is going blind in prison in the 11th year of her incarceration, she wrote, “You are the symbol of a generation that still breathes and is still alive despite repression and suppression… Let them raid our homes… We are standing on the right side of history.… Tomorrow is ours and tomorrow is going to be a better day.”
She boycotted the regime’s sham elections and in an open letter wrote, “Name one government under whom we did not see arrests, humiliation, and executions…. We long for a day when parties and true representatives with diverse beliefs can take part in the elections in our country. Until then, I will refuse to take part in an election which is just a show of force for a monopolist rule of oppression and tyranny and is aimed at fooling the public.”
She also spoke out against the guided tour of Evin Prison by ambassadors of 45 countries on July 5, 2017. Together with Atena Daemi, they wrote an open letter to the ambassadors describing the deplorable conditions in the Women’s Ward of Evin and urged UNSR on human rights in Iran to visit prisons in Tehran and other cities without prior notice.
She was also among the prisoners who wrote two open letters protesting the unlawful relocation of a number of inmates in Gohardasht prison. In one of these letters, she wrote, “Those who are critical of the government –for whatever reason– must not face such harsh reactions placing them under inhumane conditions in prison. Under the clerical regime, many people have been killed unjustly, countless rights trampled, and many unjust rulings issued. Hunger strike has remained as the only way for prisoners to demand justice.”
She also urged international organizations to undertake urgent action to save the lives of Gohardasht prisoners, especially those on hunger strike.
She also welcomed the UN working group’s acceptance of Maryam Akbari’s call for justice for her siblings executed in the 1988 massacre.
In her open letter, Ms. Iraee wrote, “Maryam is not alone. She represents thousands of people who have lost members of their families. Our failure to react and follow up these crimes will lead to more horrible crimes. We should help resonate their voice. A voice that has been echoing in the sky of this country for years. We should announce that we, too, seek justice for the bloody crimes of the 1980s.”
Finally, as the Iranian people’s uprising was spreading across the nation, Golrokh Iraee sent out a letter on January 9, 2018, calling on Iranian youths to endure and pay the price of freedom. The open letter is a good indication of the depth of awareness of this prisoner of conscience: “Their treacherous rule can be overthrown if we step onto the road with open eyes, and if we realistically understand that we have to thread a long way at a heavy cost and our enemy is ferocious. If we are thinking of freedom from the yoke of tyranny, if we no longer want to beg for our rights in our own homeland, we must evaluate the price we have to pay in this difficult path. By experience, we know that this price includes imprisonment, torture and execution and being accused of waging war on God. We must not fear the difficulties. We must believe that every fear can be overcome, every demand can be achieved and every wall of oppression can be shattered.”
It was in reaction to this call, that the regime took reprisal on her and her fellow inmate Atena Daemi. They were summoned on January 16, 2018 but refused to appear in court. They were summoned another four times, and the two brave prisoners refused to give in to the illegal interrogations. Finally, on January 24, 2018, they were taken by force for interrogation to the IRGC Ward 2A in Evin with a new case fabricated against them.
Golrokh Iraee and Atena Daemi put up a staunch resistance again, and refused to be separated to answer the interrogators’ questions. IRGC agents beat up the two enchained women and transferred them unlawfully to the notorious Qarchak Prison in Varamin and detained them in the Quarantine.
Golrokh and Atena warned that if they are not returned to Evin Prison, they would go on a wet hunger strike and continue dry after a week, to protest the regime’s breach of the principle of classification and separation of prisoners and their illegal exile to Qarchak. They started their wet hunger strike on February 3, and turned to dry on February 10, 2018.
Raheleh Rahemipour was arrested on September 10, 2017, at her residence in Tehran, by Intelligence Ministry officers. She was taken to the notorious Ward 209 of Evin Prison and held there for interrogation.
Ms. Rahemipour is a plaintiff for the 1980s executions in Iran. She has been demanding the regime to account for her missing brother, Hossein Rahemipour, a dentist, and her niece, Golrou Rahemipour, born in prison in 1984, and separated from her mother when she was only 14 days old.
Ms. Raheleh Rahemipour has been sentenced to two years in jail on the charge of acting against national security. Amnesty International has urged the Iranian regime to immediately release her.
On November 24, 2016, five UN human rights experts urged the Iranian regime to end the campaign against Ms. Rahemipour.
Mansoureh Behkish was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison by a revision court in Tehran on February 1, 2018, for demanding justice for six of her siblings and in-laws executed in the 1980s.
Ms. Behkish has lost five siblings and a brother-in-law in the course of executions in the 1980s and in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran. She is one of the most well-known activists demanding justice for victims of the 1988 massacre in Iran.
Ashraf Rahimkhani, 54, from Andimeshk, a former political prisoner in the 80s and PMOI supporter, charged for running a library, received a one-year prison sentence.
Ms. Zeinab Keshvari, 37, from Andimeshk, who assisted Ms. Rahimkhani in the liberary, was sentenced to four months in prison. Ms. Keshvari suffered a miscarriage while violently attacked at night at her residence by the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
Fereshteh Arghavani, 52, was arrested and sentenced to one year in jail for contacting her brother, an opponent of the regime who has lived abroad for 35 years. She is presently detained in a prison in the Tirkala village of Sari, capital of the northern province of Mazandaran.
Mehrnaz Haghighi, physician and civil rights activist from Bandar Abbas, was arrested on February 19, 2017. Security forces referred to Ms. Haghigh’s residence and posed as patients but arrested and took her to an unknown location upon her arrival.
Nastaran Na’imi, the wife of imprisoned social networks activist Soheil Arabi, was arrested in Tehran on July 31, 2017, and taken to an unknown location. Later, her employer was pressured by the IRGC and she was dismissed from her job.
Fatemeh Soltani, a dervish from the central Iranian city of Yazd, was arrested during the protests on January 14, 2018, to the arbitrary arrests of dervishes.
Maryam Kalangari, 65, was taken to the Central Prison of Arak, in Markazi Province. On January 13, 2018, agents of the Implementation of the Sentences Office broke into her residence and took her to jail by walker and despite her illness.
She had been previously sentenced to five months in jail on the charge of “disseminating propaganda against the state.”
Ms. Kalangari suffers from various illnesses, including heart and lungs complications, arthritis and osteoporosis, and is not able to endure prison conditions.
Her brother and two sons are in jail on similar charges. They are survivors of victims of the massacre of political prisoners in 1988.
A group of women activists of Cosmic Mysticism Group (Erfan-e Halgheh), Zahra Shafii Dahaghani, Melika Kavandi, Zahra Sadat Ebrahimi and Raha Davoudian were arrested on August 28, 2017, during a protest to the death penalty for their leader, prisoner of conscience, Mohammad Ali Taheri. Melika Kavandi and Zahra Shafii Dehaghani went on dry hunger strike on September 19, 2017, after being held in Qarchak Prison for 23 days without being informed of their charges.Other active members, Fatemeh Teimouri, Masoumeh Teimouri and Noushin Khyyamdar, were arrested by the IRGC’s intelligence forces on October 29, 2017 in Karaj. Nahid Rabbani, Ameneh Hekmat Maram, Akram Darvishi and Saeedeh Goodarzi were also among those arrested for protesting Taheri’s death sentence.
Another Erfan-e Halgheh activist, Mahtab Alipour, was arrested on May 27, 2017, in a raid on her residence without a judicial warrant.
Nora Najafi, a student and supporter of Erfan-e Halgheh, was arrested at home on February 14, 2017.
Massoumeh Sadeghi was arrested in a raid on her class by security forces in Isfahan on February 12, 2017.
Prisoner of conscience Massoumeh Zia was arrested on January 6, 2017, at the airport, when she returned home from a family visit abroad. Ms. Zia has been transferred to solitary confinement in Ward 241 of Evin since March 25, 2017, and is not permitted to have any contacts with her family. She is also deprived of having a lawyer. Ms. Zia is detained despite her family depositing 200 million toumans in March as bail to secure her release.
Rights activists and anti-death penalty campaigners
Civil rights and women’s rights activist Farzaneh Jalali was arrested on February 23, 2017, and held in detention at the Intelligence Department in Kermanshah (western Iran).
Ms. Jalali had been summoned by phone to the Department of Registration of Documents in the Province of Kermanshah, but was arrested when she referred to this office.
On March 13, 2017, she was released from prison on a heavy bail of 300 million toumans, but has been repeatedly summoned to the Intelligence Department of Kermanshah to be interrogated.
Ms. Jalali’s lawyer said the verbal summoning of his client was illegal and her case has been declared inaccessible which is also illegal. Ms. Jalali has been charged with “action against national security.”
Farzaneh Jalali is a graduate of social anthropology from Tehran University, and former editor of the university’s Sobh Daily. Despite passing the graduate school’s admission test with the sixth highest score in 2010, she was deprived of continuing her education due to her student activities.
She has been also active on women and children’s rights. She was involved in gaining support for the students injured in the fire incident at a girls’ school in Shinabad Village, West Azerbaijan Province. She has also written and published a number of articles in defense of women’s rights and violations of their rights.
Civil and women’s rights activist Safieh Gharebaghi was arrested by agents of the Intelligence Department of Zanjan as she was leaving home on July 17, 2017. Ms. Gharebaghi was charged with dissemination of propaganda against the government, distortion of public opinion and publication of falsities. She was released at the end of her hearing on August 6, 2017, after paying an 80-million-touman bail ($24.388 dollars).
Human rights advocate and activist mother, Shahnaz Akmali, was arrested on January 25, 2017, following an Intelligence Ministry raid on her home. Ms. Akmali was in jail for 24 days in Ward 209 of the Evin Prison, deprived of counsel and family visits, but was later freed fon February 18, 2017, on a 100-million-touman bail ($30,800) until her trial convenes.
Shahnaz Akmali’s son, Mostafa Karimbeigi, was shot and killed by security forces during the 2009 uprising.
Shima Babaii was arrested on February 1, 2018, in Tehran along with her husband, Dariush Zand.
Shima Babaii, a 21-year-old civil rights activist, had been previously arrested on May 25, 2016, July 9, 2017, and August 19, 2017 for participating in peaceful gatherings in front of the Dena Tire Company and Evin Prison.
In February 2017, she was informed of her charges including “propaganda against the regime”, “association and collusion (against the state)”, “dissemination of lies in cyberspace”, “insulting the leader”, “insulting the officials”, “having contact with aliens and media abroad.”
Leila Faraji was arrested in Tehran on February 1, 2018.
The Intelligence Ministry agents searched the residences thoroughly and confiscated the activist’s personal belongings.
Mahsa Roj’ati, a civil rights activist, 36, was arrested on January 2, 2017, on the charge of disseminating anti-government propaganda.
She was interrogated for two months at Evin’s Ward 209, and subsequently detained in the Women’s Ward.
On March 25, 2017, she was transferred to Ward 241 of Evin where she was held incommunicado in solitary confinement.
Despite experiencing nervous shocks, prison officials refused to approve Ms. Roj’ati’s transfer to hospital and she was deprived of receiving any medical care.
Four women were arrested in Tehran in a raid on hundreds of people rallying in Tehran’s Vanak Square on February 16, 2017 in support of Khuzistan protests against air pollution, and continuous water and electricity outages.
Mona Mo’afi, a social activist and employee of the Psychology Organization, was arrested on January 25, 2017, at her work place by agents of the Intelligence Ministry (MOIS).
Zahra Khandan, journalist and former student activist at Amir Kabir University, and Soha Mortezaii, a student activist, were arrested at their residences in Tehran on January 16, 2017, in a bid by the IRGC to prevent protests to acid attacks on women.
Terfayeh Jelizi, Hassneh Jelizi, Hamideh Sarkhi Jelizi and Hamideh Jaab from Jelizi Olia Village were transferred to a prison in Ilam.
State Security forces attacked the village on December 5, 2017, to confiscate the lands for an organization affiliated with the Army. They beat up and injured a number of people mostly women in reaction to their resistance. At least 50 of the villagers were arrested including the four women named above.
Ma’edeh Shaabani Nejad, 15, was arrested at her high school and taken to the Department of Intelligence of Abadan on October 18, 2017. The reason for the girl’s arrest remains unclear.
Kurdish civil activist woman, Kobra Khalandi, was arrested by intelligence agents on September 10, 2017, during a protest gathering in Mahabad against the arbitrary killings of poor Kurdish porters. She was sentenced to 85 days in prison by the Court of Mahabad.
Mrs. Soheila Zobeiri, 46, and her daughter, Safa Hassanpour, 18, from Sardasht were taken to prison on December 13, 2017, to serve their sentences of 24 and six months, respectively, on the charge of “disrupting public order by participating in protest gatherings.”
Dozens of women were arrested by Iranian security forces in the Kurdish cities of Sardasht, Shaqqez, Baneh, Sanandaj, Boukan, Divandarreh, Mahabad, Marivan, Sarvabad, Maku, as well as in Ilam, Kamyaran, and Qouchan following the Iraqi Kurdistan’s referendum on independence. The arrests took place beginning on September 25, 2017, and included Leila Khalilzadeh, Hiva Zarepour, Hiva Dastbaz, Sarina Fat’hi, and Laleh Mahmoudi.
Also Ronak Aghaii, arrested for hoisting a flag of Iraqi Kurdistan in a dancing celebration in Mahabad, has been transferred to Orumiyeh Prison.
Sara Rostami, 28 from Sanandaj, was arrested on August 21, 2017, by Iran’s security forces in Baneh. She was beaten at the time of arrest made without a court warrant. She is allegedly charged with collaborating with Kurdish parties.
Fatemeh Almasi, a retired teacher and a civil rights activist living in Saqqez, was arrested in July 2017 for the third time.
On June 11, 2017, Farideh Bahrami, 23, was arrested by security forces in Ravansar.
On June 12, 2017, Soheila Zandi and Nasrin Pershangdar were arrested in Sanandaj. No information is available on the whereabouts of these women.
Sara Kamangar, charged with activity on the internet, was arrested by security forces in Sanandaj. There is no news on her whereabouts and her family has no information on her conditions.
In the wake of the Persian New Year celebrations in Nowruz, security forces arrested Chenar Hosseini in Sanandaj for wearing “unconventional clothes”, namely a dress bearing the flag of Kurdistan.
At least three women, environmental activists, were arrested by security forces in Marivan, Iranian Kurdistan. These women had staged a protest gathering against burying the city’s waste in a tourist area called, Samaghan Valley.
Twenty environmental activists were arrested on March 18, 2017, by security forces in Marivan, as they were protesting burial of waste. The mayor of Marivan had invited the activists to a meeting to respond to their demands but instead of meeting, they were arrested by security forces.
Kurdish painter and artist, Neshimal Sohrabi, was arrested on January 21, 2017, when agents of the Department of Intelligence of Boukan broke into her residence.
Boukan’s Department of Intelligence announced that the reason for Neshimal Sohrabi’s arrest is her promotion of the anniversary of the formation of the Republic of Kurdistan. She was temporarily released on February 16, 2017, on a heavy bail bond of 30 million toumans (over $9000).
Sara Rezaii, a children’s rights activist and a director of the “No to rape and sexual abuse of children” campaign, was arrested in Qorveh, on August 10, 2017, in a raid on her residence by plain-clothes agents and taken under interrogation.
Nishman As’adi, a reporter working for Mukerian News Agency, was called and summoned by the Department of Intelligence of Mahabad, Iranian Kurdistan, on Thursday, January 25, 2018. She was told to inform her family because she could be arrested when she reports in.
Nishman As’adi, a women’s rights activist in recent years, refused to report in until she sees the Judiciary’s written warrant summoning her to the department.
Forced confessions made under torture by political activist Safi Sadeghi were used to convict her of “waging war against God.”
A source close to the Sadeghi family said she used to be a member of a Kurdish Party but never had any armed activities and had already renounced her membership.
Safi Sadeghi was arrested in March 2017 in Orumiyeh and was forced to make false confessions under serious physical and psychological tortures.
An Iranian Kurdish woman from Saqqez, Chini Akharkhoob was tortured to make false televised confessions.
Arrested by intelligence agents on September 26, 2017, she has refused to give in to this demand and as a result, the Intelligence Department has increased its pressures on her and her family in order to make her cave in.
After the independence referendum for Iraqi Kurdistan, held on September 25, 2017, hundreds of Iranian Kurds were arrested by security and intelligence agents for celebrating the outcome. At least 10 of those arrested were women. The clerical regime has conditioned the release of these women on making false TV confessions.
The Department of Intelligence of Sanandaj also pressured a Kurdish woman to help them break her imprisoned sons.
Mrs. Dayeh Sahrifeh was summoned on February 2, 2018. Her sons, Ramin and Afshin Hossein Panahi, are political prisoners condemned to death and to eight months in prison, respectively. She was pressured to ask her sons to break their hunger strike.
Dayeh Sahrifeh braved the Intelligence Department officials and said, “My sons have been unjustly sentenced to unfair sentences. A great injustice has been done to them. If the regime does not answer their demand, their father and I will set ourselves on fire in front of the Department of Intelligence of Sanandaj.”
Haleh Gholami, a Bahaii, was arrested on January 27, 2017, for her involvement in the formation of a charity fund to help street children and child laborers.
Bahaii women, Mahnaz Jan Nessar and Maral Rasti, were transferred to the Central Prison of Bandar Abbas on May 15, 2017, after several days of interrogation.
Another Bahaii woman identified as Nassim Ghanavatian was also detained by the Department of Intelligence in Bandar Abbas.
Laila Abdinejad, a new Christian convert, was arrested at home by government agents on June 5, 2016, and detained in Ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran. She was charged with proselytizing Christianity.
A Bahaii woman, Sima Kian, was taken to Evin Prison to serve her prison term. She was sentenced to one year of imprisonment on January 27, 2018, by Shahr-e Ray’s court and the verdict was implemented on the same day.
Ms. Kian was first arrested in March 2017, but released on bail a few weeks later.
Shamiram Essavi, an Asyrian (Christian), was sentenced on January 6, 2018, to five years in prison on charges of espionage and acting against national security for launching home churches, participating in Christian seminars abroad, and educating Christian leaders.
Ms. Essavi’s husband, pastor Victor Bet Temrz has been sentenced to 10 years in jail.
Pastor Victor, his wife and son along with 12 other Christian converts were arrested during Christmas celebrations on December 26, 2014.
Writers, journalists, photographers
Mojgan Siyami, author and Managing Editor of Saray Magazine, was arrested in a raid on her home on October 22, 2017, by security forces in Ardebil, northwestern Iran.
The State Security Forces Command in the northeastern Razavi Khorassan Province reported on July 18, 2017, that their forces had arrested a young woman among the organizers of protest gatherings who prepared documentaries on them.
Assal Ismaelzadeh, a photojournalist, was arrested on June 19, 2017, at Tehran’s Prosecutor’s Office while accompanying her husband, Saied Seif, also a journalist and media activist.
Zeinab Karimian, former reporter of the state-run Mehr news agency, was arrested by the Intelligence Ministry without informing her family of the reason for her arrest.
PUNISHED FOR SEEKING JUSTICE
This section deals with those women who have been arrested prior to January 2017. We seek to shed light first on the violation of their basic human rights by the clerical regime and at the same time, on the extent of these women’s resilience even in captivity under the harshest prison conditions to defend the beliefs and just causes they have at some time spoken out for.
The news from women imprisoned in cities other than Tehran and in prisons other than Evin is limited.
Nonetheless, from the scattered news leaking out by ordinary prisoners or a sympathetic prison guard, or relatives who manage to ditch out some information with sign language, it can be deduced that women imprisoned in other cities are also very firm, speaking out against injustice or resisting torture to make forced televised confessions.
They pay the price of standing on their beliefs and defying the oppressive rulers by enduring further torture and solitary confinement, denial of medical treatment and forsaking their visitation rights.
Prison conditions are grossly sub-standard. Women imprisoned in the Women’s Ward of Evin were denied hot water in winter. Hot water was cut off virtually every day after the heating system was turned off much sooner than the warming of weather.
At least eight women detained in the Women’s Ward of Evin, mostly on political or national security charges, are young mothers.
Prison guards occasionally raid the women’s wards to inspect the prisoners’ belongings and frisk the women in a humiliating manner. One such raid took place on April 12, 2017 in the Women’s Ward of Evin and another on October 11, 2017, in the Central Prison of Orumiyeh.
Another method of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners takes place when some women complete serving their prison sentences, but are not freed on time and but with long delays to impose psychological pressure on the prisoners, most of who suffer from serious illness after long years of prison, and their families.
These courageous women are also united in declaring support for their fellow inmates or women in other jails when they experience mistreatment and injustice.
Most recently, a group of women imprisoned in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison published an open letter protesting the unlawful transfer of Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraee to the notorious Qarchak Prison where they are mixed with dangerous criminals and exposed to a plethora of medical and physical dangers in breach of the principle of separating different prisoners’ categories.
They have also declared support on numerous occasions for male political prisoners on hunger strike and condemned prison guards’ attacks on them.
Seeking justice for victims of persecutions in 1980s and 1988
The prisoners, though, enjoy international support. Amnesty International and 19 other NGOs and human rights organizations issued a joint statement on March 8, 2017, calling on Iranian authorities to stop the harassment, intimidation and prosecution of human rights defenders seeking truth and justice on behalf of individuals who were summarily executed or forcibly disappeared during the 1980s and their families.
According to this statement, several human rights defenders, including Mansoureh Behkish, Maryam Akbari-Monfared and Raheleh Rahemipour, were subjected to harassment, reprisals or prosecution on vague national security-related charges for their peaceful efforts to learn the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones.
Amnesty International attested that the renewed efforts by the authorities to suppress the struggle that has been ongoing for over three decades to reveal the truth about the gross human rights violations that were perpetrated by the Iranian authorities during the 1980s, including the extrajudicial executions of several thousands in 1988 and their burial in unmarked mass graves.
Atena Daemi, 29, has been the most resistant prisoner over the past year.
She was serving her seven-year prison sentence in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison, when she was brutalized and banished to the notorious Qarchak Prison in Varamin on the night of January 24, 2018.
Ms. Daemi was violently arrested at 8 a.m. on November 26, 2016, in a raid on her residence by agents of the IRGC Sarallah Corps. Her parents were not home. She was brutalized, intimidated and arrested without a warrant and taken to Evin Prison.
Her sisters were also beaten up at the time of the raid. They were later accused of beating IRGC agents and the three Daemi sisters (Atena, Ensieh and Hanieh) were sentenced on March 13 to 91-day prison sentences for “preventing implementation of the verdict” and “insulting public officers on duty.”
In protest to the unfair prison sentences issued for her sisters who defended her at the time of arrest for forcible transfer to prison, Atena Daemi started a hunger strike on April 8, 2017. In an open letter, she refuted the regime’s spurious charges and vowed, “I will defend my sisters’ rights as long as I have any bit of energy. I will not allow security agencies trample their own laws and manipulate our families as a tool to psychologically torture us and create an atmosphere of terror in society. I am prepared to die but will never become a slave of oppression.”
During her hunger strike which lasted 54 days, Atena fought back several times despite her dire physical conditions. She was threatened by the Prosecutor’s representative that he would accuse her of committing a crime because she started a hunger strike.
On April 16, the infirmary’s doctors confirmed that her kidneys were infected and that the infection might have spread to her blood and digestive system.
She also suffered from kidney, heart and abdominal pain, nausea and dizziness. However, the director of Evin’s dispensary issued a false report on the 23rd day of her hunger strike stating that she did not have any medical problems, sharply contradicting the diagnoses of the dispensary’s physician.
Amnesty international issued an Urgent Action on May 9, calling for “immediate hospitalization” of Atena Daemi after 31 days of hunger strike.
Doctors warned that her kidney infection had reached critical levels and she needed immediate hospitalization, but she was briefly taken to hospital on May 13 and returned to Evin despite poor health and before the test results came out. At this point, she suffered from constant nausea and her stomach had lost the ability to hold water.
By May 15, she had lost 14 kilograms and was vomiting blood, and experienced blood pressure fluctuations but Evin’s infirmary refused to send Atena Daemi to hospital.
The three sisters appeared before Branch 48 of the Court of Appeal in Tehran on May 27, Atena feeling extremely weak with blood pressure of 8 over 5.
On May 31, the Revision Court revoked the prison sentences for Ensieh and Haniyeh Daemi, ending Atena Daemi’s hunger strike after 54 days.
After ending her strike, Ms. Daemi was denied receiving treatment and prevented from referring to a city hospital despite suffering from gall bladder stones and kidney infection. So, she had to put up another tough fight to win her rights.
Evin Prison officials have not only failed to provide adequate treatment and medical care for Atena, but she has been accused of making false pretenses of illness. They have also filed complaints accusing her of mistreatment of prison guards during her hunger strike and referral to the dispensary.
The Daemi family had persistently pursued to obtain permission for Atena’s treatment and received the Prosecutor’s agreement to have her examined by the Coroner’s Office but they did not approve her transfer to any hospital outside the prison.
Finally, on June 8, it was agreed to send Ms. Daemi to a medical center outside to undergo eye neural examination. She also needed to undergo thyroid, kidney and liver examinations. In the last minutes, however, the director of Evin’s clinic intervened and prevented her from leaving.
Another round of her family’s long efforts managed to gain admission for her examination to a medical center outside the prison where their daughter could receive specialized treatment for kidney complications as she was in danger of imminent rupture of gallbladder. Even if she was operated on, the surgery could be accompanied by infection. Simple renal and gallbladder problems diagnosed in April had developed into a dangerous condition due to prevention of treatment by the director of Evin’s dispensary.
Earlier in April, Atena Daemi had been visited by a physician at a medical center outside the prison, and diagnosed as suffering from initial precipitation of gallstones and primitive infection of the kidneys. The doctor ordered her to be hospitalized. However, the head of Evin’s dispensary, Abbas Khani, did not allow her hospitalization at the time.
As a result of Daemi family’s persistence, Khani eventually ordered that Ms. Daemi be re-examined at a hospital which he trusts. Based on the new test results, he reported that Ms. Daemi does not suffer from any medical problems at a time when Ms. Daemi was vomiting bile and suffering from fever and nausea.
The Daemi family, however, showed the same test results to other physicians and found out that her gallbladder is full of stones and her kidneys are dangerously infected, and she needs to be hospitalized immediately. Specialist doctors of the Coroner’s Office also verified that Ms. Daemi is in a critical medical condition and rejected the claim made by the head of Evin’s dispensary.
Evin’s clinical mal-practices in the case of Atena Daemi have not been limited to wrong reading of test results but she was also prescribed the wrong antibiotics. Whereas she suffered from kidney infection, she was given strong antibiotics for gynecological problems.
At the same time, new charges were brought against Atena Daemi in the Moghadasi Court upon a complaint filed against her by the Warden of Evin Prison and head of the medical clinic in Evin for disrupting prison order, and arguing over her medical condition, accusing her of insulting the officials. The court had also ruled to suspend prosecution of the IRGC on Atena Daemi’s complaint, a ruling that Ms. Daemi objected to.
Finally, on September 25, 2017, it was agreed that Atena undergo gallbladder surgery at Khomeini Hospital. Based on orders from the warden of Evin Prison, however, she was supposed to keep her handcuffs and shackles all the time while in hospital. She did not agree to this form of hospitalization and was returned to Evin Prison.
On October 7, 2017, Ms. Daemi finally underwent cholecystectomy in a Tehran hospital without giving in to inhuman conditions imposed on her by prison officials. She was hospitalized without handcuffs and shackles.
On October 22, 2017, she refused to attend a scheduled trial to examine new complaints filed against her by Evin Prison’s infirmary. Atena Daemi said she would not attend the court because it was “unjust” and that “Khani, head of the infirmary, and Charmahali, warden of Evin Prison, had to be prosecuted for denying her medical treatment.
Throughout this period, Ms. Daemi did not fail to speak out on important social issues.
On the fortieth day of her hunger strike, she announced that she will not participate in the elections. In an open letter from prison, she wrote:
“Indeed what is there to vote for? Poverty? Continued sanctions for human rights violations? Group executions? Repression and censorship? Forcible hijab and religion….?
“If I am supposed to vote for candidates that even their supporters crack down on freedom of expression and overlook taxi drivers’ stories of the pains of people, then I, as a civil and human rights activist, will not participate in this sham election.”
Then on July 5, 2017, when the clerical regime organized a guided tour of Evin Prison for ambassadors of 45 countries, she and Golrokh Iraee wrote an open letter to the ambassadors explaining the conditions in solitary cells and the dark interrogation rooms.
When the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was designated as terrorist by the US, in response to the remarks of the mullahs’ Foreign Minister indicating that every Iranian is an IRGC member, she announced, “As an Iranian, I announce that not only I’m not an IRGC member, but I’m incarcerated because of IRGC’s crimes.”
And finally, in January 2018, in the midst of the Iranian people’s nationwide uprising, she wrote an open letter from prison and said, “Such crackdowns and murders, such detentions and incarcerations, such threats, intimidation and terror, are the price for freedom. The price of reaching our rights. It is the price of mankind’s happiness. This price must be paid and we will pay it. We must not abandon resistance for even a moment.
“We must consciously stand up to suppression. We must learn our lessons from Iran and the world’s history, because history is constantly being repeated. No victory has been achieved easily. And no oppression has been everlasting.”
It was in reaction to such bold pronouncements that Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraee were summoned five times and finally violently beaten up on January 24, 2018, and transferred in the dark of the night to the notorious Qarchak Prison outside Tehran.
Even in Qarchak, Atena and Golrokh refused to wear the chador to visit their families.
They further announced a 10-day deadline for prison officials to return them to Evin and observe the principle of separation of different prisoners’ categories. On February 3, 2018, they started a wet hunger strike and continued dry on February 10.
Maryam Akbari Monfared
Maryam Akbari Monfared, 42 with three daughters, was arrested in late December 2009 after contacting her siblings who are members of the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. She was charged with Moharebeh (waging war against God) through collaboration with the PMOI.
Maryam Akbari has been deprived of access to legal counsel and was sentenced to 15 years in prison in a 5-minute trial. She has been held imprisoned since 2009 without a single day leave. She has served eight years of her sentence without any leave in Qarchak Prison, Gohardasht Prison of Karaj, and the Metadon Ward of the Evin Prison. She is presently incarcerated in the Women’s Ward of Evin.
Maryam Akbari suffers from various illnesses and needs medical treatment but Evin Prison authorities refuse to let her go to a hospital for treatment.
Ms. Akbari has lost three brothers and a sister in the 1980s when they were executed by the Iranian regime for supporting the PMOI.
In a letter on February 17, 2017, to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Ms. Akbari asked the UN experts to hold the regime accountable for the execution of her brother, Abdulreza, and her sister, Roqieh Akbari Monfared, in summer 1988.
The first time she went public with her demand for justice was October 15, 2016. Then on December 22, 2016, she wrote a letter to international organizations and urged the UN to convene a fair trial for the prosecution of the perpetrators and masterminds of this massacre.
The clerical regime’s prosecutor threatened Ms. Akbari to extend her sentence for another three years, if she continued to write open letters and demand justice for victims of 1988 massacre.
In November 2017, the UN Working group accepted Ms. Akbari’s complaint and recognized her political prisoner siblings executed in 1988 as enforced disappeared people and urged Iranian officials to explain about their fates and their places of burial.
At the same time, Maryam Akbari has not remained silent. She has spoken out on a number of occasions supporting political prisoners in Gohardasht Prison who were on hunger strike, and divulging the truth about the guided tour to Evin on July 5, 2017, by ambassadors of 45 countries, saying what they had witnessed was a “Potemkin village.”
Zeinab Jalalian, 35, was arrested by Kermanshah’s Intelligence Department forces in March 2007 and interrogated under torture for having contacts with Kurdish parties.
On December 3, 2008, she was sentenced to death, but her sentence was commuted to life in prison in November 2011. She has been under pressure and tortured to make false TV confessions.
Ms. Jalalian who is imprisoned for life has been on medical strike, refusing to take any medicines, since February in Khoy Prison, northwestern Iran. She is protesting negligence of prison officials, ignoring her health condition and registering false information in her medical record.
They have deprived her since September 2017 from having her weekly visits with her family.
The illnesses of Ms. Jalalian including canker sores in her mouth and pterygium, have deteriorated due to lack of medical treatment and her therapy strike.
In a brief interview, she said, “Some time ago, I wrote and spoke out against increasing drug abuse inside the ward. But they did not attend to my complaint, and instead incited some people to put drugs, and even urine, in the samovar of the ward. But that was not enough for them, and they deprived me from my family visits in a totally illegal measure.”
“I have requested several times to be transferred to a hospital outside the prison for medical treatment, but prison officials have taken no actions in this regard,” Zeinab Jalalian said.
Amnesty International issued an urgent action statement on August 25, 2017, in which it wrote, “Iranian Kurdish woman Zeynab Jalalian, serving a life sentence, is severely ill and requires specialized medical care outside prison. However, the authorities have persistently refused to transfer her to a hospital, apparently to punish her and extract forced ‘confessions’. In protest, she has been refusing all medications since March 2017. The denial of access to medical care in these circumstances amounts to torture.”
Political prisoner Zahra Zehtabchi has been deprived of enjoying any leaves from prison.
Ms. Zehtabchi has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for supporting the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). She has been in prison since 2013.
Zahra Zehtabchi is a social researcher and mother of two girls. She has lost a number of her family members, including her father, in the executions of the 1980s.
Afsaneh Bayazdi, Kurdish student activist, was sentenced on September 8, 2016, to four years in prison and internal exile to Kerman for disseminating propaganda against the state.
She was sent into solitary confinement in the wake of writing a letter to the mullahs’ leader Ali Khamenei, protesting insults, brutal torture and rape in prisons.
Ms. Bayazidi was interrogated and badly beaten up in the Central Prison of Kerman.
In part of her letter to Khamenei, she wrote, “For 38 years, you have played with the people of Iran and all the ethnic groups like your rosary beads. And in the name of a false religion and an Islam which you have made up, you have tortured and raped people and given them long prison sentences, or executed them. I will never forget what happened to me and others like me, in prison but a day will come when people like me will see you and your accomplice in virtuous courts. We hope for the day when the occupying officials of the evil regime of the Islamic Republic would be punished as they deserve.”
Nargess Mohammadi finished serving a six-year sentence for her first case and started serving another 10-year sentence as the second stage of her case which began on March 15, 2017.
Mohammadi was convicted in 2016 of “association and collusion to commit crimes against national security”, “disseminating anti-government propaganda” and “creating a group to disrupt national security” for her involvement with the Campaign for Step by Step Abolition of the Death Penalty, known by its Persian acronym, LEGAM.
Mohammadi has a 9-year-old twin who live in France with their father. She was allowed to speak to her two children on the phone, after she staged a 20-day hunger strike and protested being denied the right to call her children.
Nargess Mohammadi is deprived of having a furlough despite payment of a 600-million-touman bail bond.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 38, a British-Iranian dual-national, was arrested at Tehran airport on April 3, 2016 prior to boarding a plane back to the UK after a regular family visit to the country with her infant daughter Gabriella.
After being detained for over five months, initially in solitary confinement for 45 days without access to a lawyer, Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in prison in September 2016 after being convicted of “membership of an illegal group” in a grossly unfair trial by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe is currently held in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison. She is suffering from numerous health problems – including severe arm, neck and back pain. There have also been serious concerns over her mental state. Prison authorities have prevented hospitalization of Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe despite deterioration of her illness.
Ms. Zaghari was called to the Evin Prosecutor’s court on Sunday, October 8, 2017, and informed that the IRGC had accused her of three new charges, including membership in organizations that seek the soft overthrow of the Iranian regime, receiving money from Reuters and BBC, and participating in demonstrations in front of the Iranian Embassy in London.
She could face an additional 16 years in jail for the recent charges.
A UN fact-finding committee revealed that detention of dual-nationals in Iran is used by Tehran to settle accounts with other countries.
Fatemeh Mosanna, 47, was arrested by security forces in February 2013, on the charge of attempting to hold a funeral ceremony for father-in-law, who was a member of the opposition PMOI.
Last year, she suffered from severe tendon injury in the leg when she was walking in the yard during break time, but she was not given the treatment she needed at the time. Doctors have diagnosed that she suffers from chronic tendon tear in the foot, which could be cured if she had received treatment in time.
Political prisoner Maryam Olangi is detained in Evin Prison since July 24, 2016.
Her husband, former political prisoner Mohsen Dokmechi, lost his life on March 27, 2011, due to cancer and because he was deprived in prison of his much needed treatment. He was a renowned Bazaar merchant who was arrested for aiding the families of political prisoners and PMOI martyrs.
Maryam Olangi has been sentenced to three years of imprisonment on the charge of supporting the opposition People’s Mojahedin of Iran. She was supposed to serve her sentence in Rajaiishahr (Gohardasht) Prison of Karaj on internal exile, but she stayed in the Women’s Ward of Evin because there was no women’s ward in Rajaiishahr.
She had been arrested once before in October 2009, one month after the arrest of her husband, when she spent 70 days in solitary confinement under interrogation in Ward 209 of Evin Prison.
Noushindokht Mir-Abdolbaghi, 64, is a political prisoner presently detained in the Women’s Ward of Evin, serving her 34-year sentence starting on October 16, 2016.
She is accused of acting against national security, collusion against the state, insulting the sanctities, and disseminating false information.
Ms. Mir-Abdolbaghi has received a judiciary ruling confirming that she is unable to endure prison due to old age and schizophrenia but she has not been released.
Asma Poursalimi, a young woman arrested in Orumiyeh, was detained in undecided status without receiving any verdicts. She is facing charges such as Moharebeh (war against God) and membership in Kurdish parties. She is denied access to legal counsel.
Tahereh Riyahi, a journalist and a social editor for the state-run BORNA news agency, has been held in Evin Prison in an undecided state.
Ms. Riyahi was arrested on December 27, 2016, by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and taken to solitary confinement at Evin’s Ward 209. She is accused of disseminating propaganda against the state.
In mid-March, judiciary officials refused to set her free despite granting her the option of depositing bail bond to get released. She has been detained incommunicado in solitary confinement in Ward 241 of Evin since March 25, 2017.
Tahereh Riyahi suffers from Asthma and frequent seizures. She has run out of medications. But interrogators have refused to provide her medicines. Her left eye cornea has been hurt during interrogations.
In her last telephone call to her family in February 2017, Tahereh Riyahi told them not to expect her anymore!
Mehrak Karimpour Andalibi
Mehrak Karimpour Andalibi, 24 and a student of industrial engineering, was arrested at home on December 27, 2016, on the charge of disseminating anti-government propaganda. The civil rights activist was under interrogation for 2.5 months at the notorious Ward 209 of Evin Prison before being transferred to the Women’s Ward.
Sotoudeh Fazel, a 65-year-old teacher by profession, was arrested on June 29, 2016, in Tehran and is presently detained in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison. Mrs. Fazel has been deprived of revision of her sentence.
Tehran’s Revolutionary Court issued a three-year prison sentence for Aliyeh Motallebzadeh, a photographer and a women’s rights activist in Iran, on the charge of association and collusion to commit crimes against national security.
Motallebzadeh has also made a documentary entitled, “Let’s not forget women who are victims of violence in society” which focuses on acid attacks on women.
Aliyeh had travelled to Georgia, where she participated in an educational workshop on empowering of women. Motallebzadeh got arrested by Intelligence Ministry agents only a day after she returned home on November 26, 2016, and was held in solitary confinement in Ward 209 of Evin Prison and interrogated for 25 days.
Nasim Bagheri, a Bahaii prisoner of conscience detained in Evin since April 27, 2014, has been granted leave only once.
Soheila Kargar was sentenced to five years in jail on March 31, 2017, by the Revolutionary Court of Qazvin. The verdict accuses this civil rights activist of “disrupting public security” for membership in groups in a popular social network in Iran, called Telegram.
Maryam Naghash Zargaran
Christian prisoner of conscience Maryam Naghash Zargaran completed her prison term on July 28, 2017, but was not released by prison authorities until August 11, 2017.
Maryam Naghash Zargaran was first summoned and interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence in Tehran in February 2011. She was subsequently imprisoned in Evin Prison on November 10, 2012.
Ms. Zargaran suffered from a heart condition after undergoing open heart operation but was deprived from medical care and proper medications throughout her imprisonment.
Kurdish political prisoner, Ghadrieh Ghaderi, was released from the Central Prison of Yasouj on June 7, 2017, with 23 days of delay.
Her seven-year prison term ended on May 16, 2017.
Ghadrieh Ghaderi was arrested by security forces on June 8, 2010, in Orumyieh (northwest of Iran). She was interrogated for three months in Orumyieh’s detention center.
She suffered from “great pain in and numbness of left hand and ear” over the last few years of her detention but was not offered any medical care.
Marjan Davari, 50, a translator, was sentenced to death on March 12, 2017, by the 15th branch of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.
Ms. Davari is charged with “corruption on Earth” and “collusion and complicity against the state,” for translating books on mysticism and metaphysics as well as teaching in “Rah-e Marefat” (Path of Knowledge) Institute.
She was arrested at home on September 24, 2015 in Mehrshahr, Karaj, and transferred to the Intelligence Ministry Ward 209 at Evin Prison where she was held in solitary confinement for more than three months. During this period, she was under interrogation without access to legal counsel.
She was subsequently transferred to the women’s general ward on January 3, 2016. In February 2017 she was transferred to the notorious Shahr-e Ray Prison, a.k.a. Varamin’s Qarchak Prison.
Her death sentence was revoked on January 6, 2018, but she continues to remain incarcerated in Qarchak.