As the current Iranian regime continues to brutally repress its civil society and crackdown on free expression, scores of human rights defenders, journalists, artists, and others who speak out against human rights violations continue to remain behind bars on ambiguous criminal charges.
Zeinab Jalaian, Arash Sadeghi, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, Afshin Sohrabzadeh, Atena Daemi, Omid Alishenas, Maryam Naghash Zargaran, Shima Babai, and Mahmoud Masoumi are among the many courageous Iranians advocating against human rights violations and who have found themselves entangled in a corrupt and oppressive justice system.
Cruel and unbearable conditions in prisons in Iran, especially for political prisoners have reached epidemic levels with no end in sight. People are being convicted on vague charges often times for the peaceful expression of their political views, religious beliefs, artistic vision or human rights advocacy. In essence, they are being held hostage by a government whose goal is to stifle free speech and opposition to their oppressive ideology.
This report is a summary of the current situation of 7 such political prisoners languishing in some of Iran’s most brutal prisons. Many suffer incredible tortures, and are treated cruelly; in need of urgent medical care, which is in direct violation of both national and international Human Rights guidelines.
Zeinab Jalalian, 34 years old wrongly described as a political activist, was arrested in 2007 and sentenced to death for being an alleged member of the banned Kurdish Free Life Party of Kurdistan. (PJAK) Although Iran’s Supreme Court later reduced her sentence to life imprisonment, this is of little comfort to Zeinab, who has languished in prison now for the past 9 years. Plagued with continual health problems, she now suffers an eye aliment, which requires surgery that she has been denied. Zeinab is slowly losing her eyesight with no help on the horizon. Due to her lengthy imprisonment and denial of proper medical care she has experienced other serious health problems and faced challenges most of us would consider a living nightmare. Over the past few years, she has suffered internal bleeding, and intestinal infection related to injuries sustained during torture. Zeinab had reportedly been placed under intense physical and psychological pressure to confess in front of a camera for her alleged crimes, a common practice in Iran for politically motivated cases. Her requests for medical furlough have been denied.
Arash Sadeghi, 30 years old was sent to Evin prison on June 7th, 2016 on charges of “gathering demonstration and collusion against the Regime”, “propaganda against the regime” “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran”, and “spreading false news in cyberspace”. He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment. He has endured torture, been denied medical attention and has been subject to psychological and emotional trauma at the hands of Iranian prison authorities. Both Arash and his wife (Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee) have been denied legal counsel at their trial.
Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, 35 years old graduated in the field of accounting, was sentenced to six years in prison on the ambiguous charges of “propaganda against the regime of Iran” and “blasphemy” at the Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court. She was sentenced to imprisonment in an absentia trial due to her critical condition after Ovarian Fibroma surgery. Because of lack of medical aftercare care and unsanitary conditions at the prison, the most serious and widespread health risk to her comes from the operation. She has been released on bail.
Afshin Sohrabzadeh, 24 years old is a Krudish man, has been held as a political prisoner serving 25 years for alleged charges of “Moharebeh” (enmity against God). He has suffered many tortures and at one time had his nose broken by interrogators. Due to prolonged denial of needed medical treatment, he endures a serious gastrointestinal condition and vomits blood. His health condition leaves Afshin in a grave state, yet Iranian officials continue to deny him needed medical attention. He has recently been confirmed to have colon cancer, and is in need of specialized treatment. Still, he languishes in prison with no reprieve from his intense suffering. Currently Afshin has been released on bail.
Atena Daemi, 27-year-old is an Iranian civil rights activist who has been held in Evin prison since October 2014, sentenced to 14 years’ detention. Atena has a serious health condition which, due to lack of desperately needed medical care has led her to begin to lose her eyesight. She suffers from migraines, fatigue, and dental disease which caused nerve damage. Even with her failing health concerns she has been subject to physical and psychological torture as well as isolation. Iranian prison officials have denied her access to medical attention. As in most cases, she has been vaguely charged with blasphemy, propaganda against the regime” and “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Latest reports indicate Atena is free on bail pending her trial.
Omid Alishenas, 32-year-old is an Iranian civil rights activist was arrested in front of his father’s home in September of 2014, and has been struggling with the corrupt justice system ever since. His charges were again those of unclear nature as typical in Iranian courts. Charges of “propaganda against the regime” “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran”, are among the crimes he is alleged to have committed.
Omid has endured severe torture both physically and psychologically while in prison. He is frequently beaten and interrogated; not allowed to sleep, and held for long periods of time in isolation. The deplorable conditions of prison life such as overcrowding and unsanitary conditions left serious concerns for his health and well-being. Currently Omid has been released on bail.
Maryam Naghash Zargaran, 35-year-old is a prisoner at Evin is in grave danger for her life. She had started a hunger strike on May 26th, in protest against the systematic violence of her basic rights such as medical care, conditional release and her unknown fate in the prison, whereupon, she was transferred to the hospital because of her physical deterioration. Officials returned her back to the prison without any medical treatment as she was unconscious. Maryam, suffers from atrial septal defect (ASD), diabetes, blood fat, severe pain in her ears and chronic dizziness. The Christian prisoner also contracted lumbar disc, arthritis, and anemia because of poor nutrition and inappropriate conditions in the prison. After being denied medical attention and requests for temporary release, on June 6th, 2016, Maryam was released on $33,000 bail and again returned to Evin on June 27th, 2016, to serve her remaining sentence.
Shima Babai, 21-year-old student, studying architecture at a university in Iran was arrested at a raid on her father’s home on May 25, 2016. Officials seized her personal belongings, books, personal journals and cell phones. The 21-year-old woman was also arrested with Mahmoud Masoumi several weeks ago but released within hours. There is no current update available on her current condition or the suffering she must be enduring at the hands of security in Ward 2-A of Evin prison. It must be noted that political prisoners at Evin are tortured and forced to live under excruciatingly terrible conditions. Rape, beatings, unsanitary living quarters and torture are commonplace at Evin for political prisoners such as Shima. Currently, the 21-year-old civil rights activist, was released on bail of $33,000 (100 million Tomans) on June 1, 2016 after enduring eight days in solitary confinement in Evin at the hands of the IRGC.
Mahmoud Masoumi, 21-year-old was taken into custody by Iranian security officials on May 12, 2016, during a peaceful protest advocating for human rights. He was held in the infamous Evin prison where he is accused of indefinable charges. He, along with 14 other detainees arrested for the protest was severely beaten. On June 12th, 2016, Mahmoud was released on $65,000 bail.
Please sign their petition and demand that the Iranian government acts within the framework of the UN’s international human rights treaties, and human values to provide them with a fair trial based on the rule of law.