Archiv der Kategorie: Prison

Young Activist Sentenced to 12.5 Years in Prison for Facebook Posts

Atena Faraghdani

A Revolutionary Court in Tehran has sentenced artist and civil rights activist Atena Faraghdani to a total of 12.5 years in prison for drawings and content critical of the government that the young activist posted on her Facebook page.

Faraghdani’s lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi, stated in an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that under Article 134 of Iran’s New Islamic Penal Code, the sentence should be reduced to 7.5 years imprisonment. This article stipulates that in the case of multiple charges, sentencing will be limited to the maximum punishment for the crime with the heaviest sentence.

Moghimi noted that the ruling issued by the judge stated that Article 134 should be “considered.” The lawyer added that a 7.5-year prison sentence was “the maximum punishment for the charge of ‘assembly and collusion against national security,’” one of the charges against her.

“The peaceful expression of dissent remains a red line in Iran,” said Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director of the Campaign, “Cross it and you risk prison time.”

Ghaemi added that the authorities particularly fear social media networks, which have become hugely popular in Iran, especially among the young, and have clamped down especially hard on any content deemed even remotely critical of state policies expressed on them.

“The court ruling was served to her and myself today [June 1, 2015]. We have 20 days to appeal, and we hope this ruling will be overturned by the Appeals Court,” said Moghimi, Faraghdani’s lawyer.

The activist’s charges are “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” and “insulting the Supreme Leader, the President, Members of the Parliament, and the IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] Ward 2-A agents” who interrogated her.

Following five months inside Gharchak and Evin Prisons, Faraghdani was tried at Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Salavati, a notorious judge who is consistently handpicked to preside over “national security” cases that security and intelligence organizations bring against political and civil activists, because of the harsh and maximum sentences he imposes. Salavati is the judge presiding over the trial of the Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.

Moghimi noted that one of the pieces of evidence used against his client was her sharing of a cartoon depicting members of the Iranian Parliament as animals on her Facebook page. Other evidence included Faraghdani’s critical writings on her Facebook page, and her visits with families of political prisoners and protesters who were killed at the Kharizak Police Detention Center in 2009, in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election.

“According to our laws, activities on social networks on the Internet are not recognized as crimes. In democratic countries, drawing cartoons to criticize those in power is an accepted practice. My client is an artist who expresses her thoughts through drawing cartoons, and she meant to criticize those in power,” Mohammad Moghimi told the Campaign.

“Additionally, Article 8 of the Iranian Constitution expresses that it is upon everyone to ‘prevent vice and promote virtue,’ and this is a two-way responsibility both the nation and the state have  vis-à-vis each other. Expressing criticism is also a part of freedom of opinion and expression,” Moghimi said.

Security agents arrested the painter and civil activist Atena Faraghdani on August 24, 2014, and transferred her to IRGC’s Ward 2-A inside Evin Prison. She was released on bail on November 2, 2014. She published a video of herself, in which she spoke about an incident of aggressive strip search by female prison guards inside a solitary cell at Evin Prison. She said in the video that she had been ordered to take off her clothes, which she had refused. The video was widely viewed and discussed on social networks.

After the video was published, she was summoned to Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court on January 10, 2015, arrested, and transferred to Gharchak Prison in Varamin, outside Tehran.

Atena Faraghdani embarked on a hunger strike to protest her transfer to the deplorable Gharchak Prison, where political prisoners are not separated from hardened criminals, in violation of the principle of the separation of prisoners.

After her health deteriorated severely and she was transferred to a hospital on February 26, 2015, judicial authorities ordered her transfer back to Evin Prison on March 2, where she has been ever since.

Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

A Daughter’s Plea: Free My Father from Iran’s Prisons

Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

My father, an Iranian blogger, is being psychologically tortured and imprisoned—all for blogging about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
At this very moment, my father, Mohammad Reza Pourshajari, also known as Siamak Meher, is being detained in Karaj Prison in Iran.  He was arrested by security forces two months ago in Orumieh and was held in solitary confinement for 14 days by the Ministry of Intelligence.  He was subjected to harsh investigation and psychological torture. His interrogators repeatedly threatened him with the death.  Once transferred to Karaj Prison, he spent an additional 15 days in solitary confinement.

For a month after his arrest, my family had no idea where my father disappeared to.  We were terrified.  My father is now awaiting a court trial for the following so-called crimes: acts against national security, propaganda against the system, attempts to leave the country illegally, contacts with Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, the Special Rapporteur on Iran, contacts with anti-revolutionary individuals and organizations and contacts with Zionist organizations and individuals.

My father is a blogger—not a criminal.  In March, my father, who suffers from cardiac arrest, diabetes and kidney stones, wrote, “When the intelligence agents of the Islamic regime first broke into my apartment they beat me to death and took me for interrogations. I was put in a solitary confinement completely cut off from the outside world without even enjoying basic prisoner rights. I was constantly threatened to death.”  He was taken into a room, blindfolded and led to believe he was going to be hanged.

My father continued, “All these sufferings only because I tried to share articles 17 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with my fellow citizens; all these because I tried to make my fellow citizens aware of the rights reserved for them by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”  He rightly observed that, “My fate as a blogger and a prisoner of conscience is only one example of the thousands of the victims of human rights violations in Iran.”

What makes his current detainment even more heartbreaking this time is that he was recently released after serving four years in prison. He was arrested in September 2010 and sentenced prison for propaganda against the State, insulting the Supreme Leader and defamation of Islam.

During the first days of my father’s interrogation, security officials asked him to convince me to return back to Iran. They assured him that should this happen, many problems would be resolved. The majority of the questions they asked were related to my work and activities.

From prison, my father noted that he was jailed “as a result of voicing my criticism and concerns at the injustice and the violation of human rights and freedom violations in my country.”  He rotted in a 21-square-meter cell where he was kept with 40 other inmates “most of whom are murderers, rapists, child molesters, smugglers, robbers and psychotic patients.”

My father is now awaiting a court trial for the following so-called crimes: acts against national security, propaganda against the system … contacts with anti-revolutionary individuals and organizations and contacts with Zionist organizations and individuals.

My father’s voice has been silenced by a cruel regime and so I pass on his message to the world:  “The people of Iran are now ensnared in the hands of a religious, medieval and extremely backward regime that has no respect for the values the civilized world has been seeking out for the past four centuries,” he wrote.   “The totalitarian regime of the Islamic republic harshly represses the public so not even one single individual or the media can freely expresses their opinion on the conditions of the country and its people…”

The Iranian regime has refused to release any updated information about my father despite repeated requests.  My father and I always had a very close relationship.  He took care of me throughout my life.  I dream that one day he will be free.  He is always in my thoughts. is a crowdsourcing platform created by Advancing Human Rights which connects activists from dictatorships with people around the world with skills to help them.

Source: The Daily Beast

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