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Imprisonment of Atena Daemi

Status: 
Imprisoned
About the situation

On 12 May 2018, Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraee were returned to Evin Prison after having been illegally transferred to Gharchak prison (in the city of Varamin) for three and half months. Both human rights defenders had been on hunger strike in protest at the transfer.

As of 9 March 2018, human rights defenders Atena Daemi and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee are being held in a quarantine section of Shahr-e Rey prison in the town of Varamin. They are still on hunger strike as of 15 February 2018.

On 13 February 2018, the mother and sister of Atena Daemi were arrested after being beaten by prison guards with batons while standing in front of Evin prison to show their solidarity with the defender. They were released that same evening.

On 8 October 2017, Atena Daemi was taken to hospital to have surgery on her gall bladder. She had previously refused treatment due to the fact that she was to be handcuffed throughout hospitalization - there was some negotiation in this regard and the prison director ultimately relented to her demand not to be handcuffed during the surgery. 

About Atena Daemi

Atena DaemiAtena Daemi is a children's and human rights defender who has advocated for the rights of children in Kobane and Gaza, for women's rights and against capital punishment.

15 March 2018
DROI Chair calls for release and urgent medical help for women human rights defenders in Iran

UPDATE: On 12 May 2018, Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraee were returned to Evin Prison after having been illegally transferred to Gharchak prison (in the city of Varamin) for three and half months. Both human rights defenders had been on hunger strike in protest at the transfer.

Alarmed by the detention of two women human rights defenders in Iran, the Chair of the Human Rights Subcommittee (DROI) of the European Parliament Pier Antonio Panzeri, made the following statement:

"I am gravely concerned by the detention and reported cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of Atena Daemi and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee at Shahr-e Rey prison.  They are regarded as prisoners of conscience by credible human rights organisations. They are serving lengthy and unjust prison sentences that were handed down solely for their peaceful human rights work.

Therefore I urge the Iranian authorities to release them immediately and unconditionally.

Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and Atena Daemi should also be given urgent and adequate medical attention and care due to their fragile and deteriorating state of health as a result of their lengthy hunger strike and ill-treatment, including previous harassment and physical attacks by other inmates and guards. I call on the prison administration and the relevant authorities to guarantee regular contacts with family members, including prison visits and phone calls. I also call on the authorities to take immediate steps to improve the detention conditions and facilities at Shahr-e Rey prison."

9 March 2018
Held in poor conditions in Shahr-e Rey prison

As of 9 March 2018, human rights defenders Atena Daemi and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee are being held in a quarantine section of Shahr-e Rey prison in the town of Varamin. It is not known exactly when they were transferred from Evin prison, but it has been reported that holding conditions of the human rights defenders are poor and that they are still wearing the clothes they wore upon arriving at Shahr-e Rey prison. As of 9 March, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, who suffers from severe muscular pain, had been on hunger strike for over one month (35 days), and has reportedly been forcibly given IV fluids since her arrival to the prison.

24 July 2017
Concern for the health of Atena Daemi as she is denied medical treatment

UPDATE: Atena Daemi and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee are still on hunger strike as of 15 February 2018. Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee fainted on 12 February, and both defenders are suffering from fragile health conditions. On 13 February 2018, the mother and sister of Atena Daemi were arrested after being beaten by prison guards with batons while standing in front of Evin prison to show their solidarity with the defender. They were released that same evening.

As of 24 July 2017, Atena Daemi continues to be denied adequate specialized medical care at Tehran’s Evin prison to treat the effects of her recent 55-day hunger strike. On 31 May 2017, Atena Daemi ended the hunger strike she began on 8 April 2017. There is increased concern for the human rights defender’s health due to prison authorities’ continued refusal to transfer her to an external hospital to treat the severe health problems stemming from her hunger strike.

Atena Daemi is a children's and human rights defender who has advocated for the rights of children in Kobane and Gaza, for women's rights and against capital punishment. The 29-year-old has been imprisoned since November 2016 after being convicted of charges that were based solely on her peaceful human rights activities, including meeting the families of political prisoners and condemning the mass executions of political prisoners in 1988.

Although the human rights defender has ended her hunger strike, there is increased concern for her health due to the prison authorities’ refusal to transfer her to an external hospital. Although Atena Daemi has been taken to hospital for eye tests, she has not been provided with the ongoing specialist medical treatment required to treat her kidney problems, and which is only available in a hospital outside the prison. There is also concern that medical treatment is being withheld from some “difficult” prisoners as a form of punishment. Prison authorities have  previously complained about media reports highlighting the lack of adequate treatment of prisoners, and have threatened to retaliate against prisoners, including Atena Daemi.

On 31 May 2017, Atena Daemi ended her hunger strike after she and her sisters were acquitted of additional charges brought by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and which resulted in additional time being added onto the human rights defender’s seven-year prison sentence. The case against Atena Daemi and her sisters was prompted by the fact that the human rights defender had submitted a mistreatment complaint against agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who used excessive force while arresting her on 26 November 2016.

On 8 May 2017, one month after her hunger strike began, Atena Daemi was transferred to a hospital outside of prison for medical tests arranged by her family. However, she was returned to prison before her test results were received. At a follow-up appointment on 15 May 2017, her doctor advised that Atena Daemi, who was suffering from nausea, vomiting, blood pressure fluctuation and kidney pain, needed to be immediately admitted to hospital. Authorities at Evin prison refused her transfer to the hospital outside of prison for medical treatment, and she was returned to the prison again the same day. Later that day Atena Daemi was taken to the prison clinic after coughing up blood. In April 2017, the Quds Criminal Court added 91 days to Daemi’s seven-year prison sentence and issued suspended 91-day prison sentences to her sisters, prompting the human rights defender to begin her hunger strike.

In a recent open letter, Atena Daemi and fellow prisoner Golrokh Iraee described the conditions in Evin prison, and the level of medical care available, which contrasted sharply with the positive image of the prison given to a group of 40 foreign Ambassadors who were given a private tour of the prison on 5 July 2017.

“They have spoken, and you have spoken, of women’s health services. We’ll speak of it now: of the state of the clinic and mistakes in medication, of the lack of antiseptics and cleaning products excused by ‘budget shortfalls’. […] Have they told you that, owing to excuses based in religious law, male doctors don’t perform medical exams, injections, or electrocardiograms on women prisoners? Did they say that there’s not a single woman nurse in the whole prison to do these things for us? Do you know that hundreds, perhaps thousands of prisoners here suffer from kidney disease from drinking the prison’s unhealthy water? […]  If only you’d also been able to ride the Evin ambulance during your review, too, to see the lack of necessities inside it!”

Front Line Defenders is concerned by the Iranian authorities’ failure to provide the necessary medical treatment for Atena Daemi, and calls on the government to ensure that the human rights defender receives the specialist medical treatment required to treat the effects of her hunger strike. Front Line Defenders reiterates its call for the immediate and unconditional release of Atena Daemi who is imprisoned in reprisal for her peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.

 

8 May 2017
Atena Daemi on hunger strike for one month

8 May 2017 marks one month since Atena Daemi began a hunger strike in protest at the three-month and one day additional sentence that was handed down to her and her sisters by Branch 1163 of the Qods Criminal Court on 3 April 2017 for “insulting officers on duty”. Atena Daemi is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence at Evin prison in Tehran.

Atena Daemi has advocated for children’s and women's rights in Kobane and Gaza, as well as against capital punishment in Iran. She has also provided support for children who are suffering as a result of fighting in Syria’s Kurdish regions. Initially sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment in May 2015 for “insulting the Supreme Leader” and for “assembly and collusion against national security”, her term was reduced to seven years on appeal in September 2016. In February 2016 she was released on bail but was re-arrested on 26 November that year.

In a recent statement, issued from prison, Atena Daemi wrote, “Unfortunately, unacceptable pressure on prisoners and the harassment of their families is a common practice in Iran. So, in protest against this inhumane procedure, I will remain on hunger strike until the authorities grant complete and unconditional freedom to my sisters (Ensieh and Haniyeh), acquitting them of all charges and dropping the bail bond which has been taken from my family. I hereby announce that the prosecution (the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) as well as the Iranian judiciary and the prosecutor of Tehran are responsible for any damage to my health and my life because of the lack of impartiality and independence in the way in which the case was processed.”

The court’s ruling against Atena Daemi and her sisters came after the human rights defender submitted a mistreatment complaint against agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who used excessive force while arresting her on 26 November 2016. The Iranian courts have thus far failed to look into this complaint, which she made in late 2016. When Atena Daemi’s lawyer asked the court about her client’s complaint against the IRGC, the court said that it had no knowledge of its existence. In contrast, the complaint of the IRGC which led to the aforementioned additional sentence was immediately taken up.

Contesting the sentence, Atena Daemi carried out a sit-in protest on the day of sentencing outside a guard station in Evin prison. When the authorities failed to respond to her protest, she began a hunger strike on 8 April 2017. According to the defender’s mother, Masoumeh Nemati, “Every time Atena’s father went to the prosecutor’s office, the authorities insisted that she was being looked after and was fine. Finally, Atena confronted the director of the prison clinic and asked him why he was lying and giving false reports about her health. The director told my daughter he had no proof she was sick and said she was lying.”

Front Line Defenders is concerned by the Iranian authorities’ failure to address the legal and human rights issues highlighted in Atena Demi’s case, including the imposition of an additional punitive sentence for making a legitimate complaint against excessive use of force by the officers who arrested her. Vaguely worded charges such as “propaganda against the regime” or “insulting the supreme leader” are used to silence critical voices and block attempts to hold the authorities to account. A recent development has been the introduction of a provision in Iran’s new Penal Code allowing for the imposition of sentences exceeding the statutory maximum when there are more than three crimes.

Front Line Defenders calls on the government of Iran to immediately release Atena Daemi, drop all charges against her and her sisters and, as a matter of urgency, to ensure that she has access to all necessary medical support while on hunger strike. Front Line Defenders condemns the additional sentence issued against Atena Daemi, the sentences against her sisters, as well as the current ongoing seven-year sentence against Atena Daemi, as it believes that they were issued solely in reaction to legitimate and peaceful human rights activities.

11 April 2017
Atena Daemi starts a hunger strike

On 8 April 2017, human rights defender, Atena Daemi, began a hunger strike in protest at the three-month and one day prison sentence that was handed down to her and her sisters by Branch 1163 of the Qods Criminal Court on 3 April 2017 for “insulting officers on duty”. The defender is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence at Evin prison in Tehran.

Atena Daemi  has advocated for children’s rights and women's rights in Kobane and Gaza and against capital punishment in Iran. She has also supported children suffering as a result of fighting in Syria’s Kurdish regions. Initially sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment in May 2015 for ‘insulting the Supreme Leader' and ‘assembly and collusion against national security’, her term was reduced to seven years on appeal in September 2016. In February 2016 she was released on bail but was re-arrested on 26 November that year.

On 3 April 2017, an additional three months and one day were added to Atena Daemi’s seven-year prison sentence. Both of Atena Daemi’s sisters were also sentenced to three months and one day in prison with a one-year suspended sentence. The ruling came after the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) complained that the three sisters had “insulted officers on duty”. Contesting the sentence, Atena Daemi carried out a sit-in protest on the day of the sentencing outside a guard station in Evin prison. When the authorities failed to respond to her protest, the human rights defender began a hunger strike on 9 April 2017.

The court’s ruling against Atena Daemi and her sisters came after the defender submitted a mistreatment complaint against agents of the IRGC who used excessive force while arresting her on 26 November 2016. The Iranian courts have thus far failed to look into this complaint, which she made in late 2016. When the human rights defender’s lawyer asked the court about her client’s complaint against the IRGC, the court said that it had no knowledge of its existence.

Front Line Defenders condemns the additional sentence issued against Atena Daemi, the sentences against her sisters, as well as the current ongoing seven-year sentence against Atena Daemi, as it believes that they were issued solely in reaction to legitimate and peaceful human rights activities. Front Line Defenders further calls on the Iranian government to release Atena Daemi immediately and drop all charges against her and her sisters.

4 January 2017
Atena Daemi faces new charges after submitting mistreatment complaint

Human rights defender Ms Atena Daemi is expected to stand before the Shahid Moghaddas Court  in the coming days to face criminal charges after submitting a mistreatment complaint against agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Atena Daemi is a civil and children’s rights defender who has advocated for the rights of children in Kobane and Gaza, women's rights and against capital punishment. . She has also supported children suffering from the effects of fighting in Syria’s Kurdish regions.

On 19 December, Atena Daemi appeared before the Shahid Moghaddas Court inside Evin Prison  and was charged with “insulting the supreme leader,” “insulting state officials,” “spreading lies,” “resisting arrest” and “assaulting the arresting agent.” These charges followed the human rights defender filing a complaint against the IRGC for the use of excessive force during her arrest on 26 November 2016 when she reported being beaten and subjected to pepper spray. Following her arrest she was transferred to Evin Prison to serve a seven-year jail sentence.

This sentence was issued by an Appeals Court in Iran on 28 September 2016 following an appeal made by the human rights defender against an original sentence handed down by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran on 14 May 2015. She had been ordered to serve 14 years in prison on charges that included engaging in propaganda against the Iranian regime and which related to peaceful demonstrations and posts she had made on Facebook.

Front Line Defenders condemns the current prison sentence against Atena Daemi and the continued judicial harassment of the human rights defender as her sentence is believed to be solely associated with her legitimate and peaceful human rights activities. Front Line Defenders further reiterates calls on the Iranian government to release Atena Daemi immediately and drop all charges against her.

28 November 2016
Atena Daemi Taken to Evin Prison

On 26 November 2016, Atena Daemi was taken into custody from her home where she had been since being released on bail in February. Her relatives report that she was taken to Evin Prison.  In September, her prison sentence had been reduced from 14 to 7 years, but there had been no indication that she would be taken back to prison when security forces raided her family's home.

28 September 2016
Atena Daemi's sentence reduced

On 28 September 2016, the Appeals Court reduced Atena Daemi's sentence from 14 to 7 years in prison. The court reduced the punishment related to the charge of ‘insulting the Supreme Leader' from 3 to 2 years and on the charge of ‘assembly and collusion against national security’ from 7 to 5 years.

19 February 2016
Human rights defender Atena Daemi released on bail

On 15 February 2016, children's rights defender Ms Atena Daemi was released on bail of five billion Iranian rials (approximately €149,213).

She will remain at liberty until the examination of her case by an Appeals Court at an as yet unknown date. Prior to her release on bail, the human rights defender had spent 482 days in detention in Evin prison.

On 14 May 2015 Atena Daemi was sentenced to fourteen years'imprisonment by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran on charges reported to include propaganda against the Iranian regime, collusion against the regime on the basis of holding demonstrations in support of the children of Kobane in Syria, opposition to the execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari, insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran, and blasphemy connected to listening to protest songs by the Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi. She was arrested by the Intelligence Organisation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard on 21 October 2014. The case against her has also been partly founded on posts the human rights defender had made on Facebook.

Prior to her release on bail, the human rights defender's health had been deteriorating significantly as a result of inhumane treatment and torture in detention. Whilst detained, Atena Daemi has been subjected to long-term solitary confinement and suffered from poor air quality, lack of sunlight and poor nutrition, which have resulted in her developing a skin disease and the weakening of her eyesight. The human rights defender has also suffered from stomach bleeding. On 4 July 2015, she was taken to Sadeghiyeh Clinic in Tehran due to her increasingly poor state of health.

8 July 2015
Mistreatment of human rights defender Atena Daemi in detention

On 4 July 2015 human rights defender Ms Atena Daemi was taken to Sadeghiyeh Clinic in Tehran due to her deteriorating health condition, which has been the result of inhuman treatment in detention.

The human rights defender was suffering from hormonal imbalances. Due to the shortage of medical equipment in Evin prison, where she remains to be detained, she had to be transferred to Sadeghiyeh Clinic by officers. She remained handcuffed in the examination room until the doctor protested against this. Even though the doctor ordered that a few medical tests be carried out, the officer present did not allow this and quickly returned Atena Daemi to Evin Prison. It is reported that the pressure she was subjected to in Sadeghiyeh Clinic led the human rights defender to suffer a heart attack later that day. She was subsequently transferred to the clinic at Evin Prison before returning to the women's ward following an outpatient examination.

The conditions throughout Atena Daemi's long-term solitary confinement, including poor air quality, lack of sunlight, and poor nutrition have also resulted in skin disease and weakened eyesight. The human rights defender has reportedly also been suffering from stomach bleeding.

Atena Daemi was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards on 21 October 2014. The charges on which she has been sentenced include propaganda against the Iranian regime, collusion against the regime on the basis of holding demonstrations in support of the children of Kobane in Syria, opposition to the execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari, insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran, and blasphemy in connection to listening to Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi's protest songs. The case against her has also been founded partly upon posts the human rights defender had made on Facebook.

18 May 2015
Atena Daemi sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment

On 14 May 2015, human rights defender Ms Atena Daemi was sentenced to fourteen years' imprisonment by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran.

The human rights defender was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards on 21 October 2014. The charges on which she has been sentenced reportedly include propaganda against the Iranian regime, collusion against the regime on the basis of holding demonstrations in support of the children of Kobane in Syria, and in opposition to the execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari, insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran, and blasphemy in connection to listening to Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi's protest songs. The case against her has also been founded partly upon posts the human rights defender had made on Facebook.

Atena Daemi was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards on 21 October 2014. She was initially held in solitary confinement at Evin Prison's 2-Alef Sepah ward, where she underwent interrogation. She was later transferred to the prison's women's ward, where she continues to be detained. She was subjected to torture during her time in detention and has been left with a skin disease and weakened eyesight.