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Imprisonment of Atena Daemi

Status: 
Imprisoned
About the situation

On 9 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.

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.

11 April 2017
Atena Daemi starts a hunger strike

On 9 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.