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Saba Kord Afshari ends hunger strike

Status: 
Imprisoned
About the situation

On 18 May 2021 woman human rights defender Saba Kord Afshari ended her hunger strike in Qarchak prison after the deterioration of her health condition.

Saba Kord Afshari’s mother, woman human rights defender Raheleh Ahmadi who is detained in Evin prison asked her daughter to end her hunger strike, or she would also go on hunger strike and additionally cease taking her medication.

On 8 May 2021, Saba Kord Afshari began a hunger strike in Qarchak prison to protest the detention of her mother, woman human rights defender Raheleh Ahmadi, in Evin prison despite the deterioration of her health.

On 3 April 2021, woman human rights defender Saba Kord Afshari was granted a seven-day leave period from Qarchak prison in Varamin, where she is currently serving a seven-and-a-half year prison sentence. The week’s leave was granted on a bail worth 22 billion IRR.

On 17 March 2021, Saba Kord Afshari reported that she had fainted three times in the three days since she tested positive for COVID-19. On at least one occasion after fainting, the woman human rights defender was taken to the prison’s clinic where she received oxygen, before being returned to Ward 6 of Qarchak prison.

On 9 March 2021, woman human rights defender Saba Kord Afshari was informed that Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals had ruled to reduce her prison sentence to 7 years and 6 months. The Court’s ruling amended what was a judicial violation by the Tehran Revolutionary Court in its initial sentencing of the woman human rights defender in June 2020, when it increased the given sentence by 150%, bringing her total sentence to 15 years imprisonment

On 26 January 2021, women’s rights defender Saba Kord Afshari was physically assaulted by prison security officers and forcibly transferred from Ward 8 to Ward 6 of Qarachak prison, where she will be detained with prisoners convicted of public-order crimes.

On 9 December 2020, Saba Kord Afshari was transferred to Qarchak prison. Even though the transfer was ordered by the assistant prosecutor, no explanation has been presented to the women’s rights defender either in written or oral form.

On 9 November 2020, Branch 28 of the Supreme Court rejected woman human rights defender Saba Kord Afshari’s request for retrial.

On 19 September 2020, Saba Kord Afshari was returned to Evin prison without receiving required medical treatment. She was transferred to Taleghani hospital the same day after her health seriously deteriorated.

On 1 June 2020, the lawyer of Saba Kord Afshari was informed that the verdict of the appeals court had been changed and that the woman human rights defender had now received a 15-year prison sentence. Previously, an acquittal had been issued in writing on March 17 2020 by the Evin Prosecutor’s Office. She had faced the charge of “promoting corruption and prostitution through appearing without a headscarf in public”. Her lawyer has expressed concerns regarding the acquittal, which was communicated to her in prison, emphasizing the unlawful proceedings in her case. Kord Afshari, who is currently serving a nine-year sentence, can face up to 24 years of imprisonment in total.

About Saba Kord Afshari

Saba Kord AfshariSaba Kord Afshari is a young (22 year old) women’s rights defender, who has been campaigning against the mandatory veil in Iran. She took part in the White Wednesdays- My Stealthy Freedom campaign which encourages women to appear in public without headscarf and post their photos/videos on social media to raise awareness in opposition to forced veiling laws. In reaction to the growing number of women peacefully joining this campaign, Iranian police warned on 23 February 2018 that those joining this campaign will be facing charges on “inciting and facilitating corruption and prostitution” which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years of prison.

19 May 2021
Saba Kord Afshari ends hunger strike

On 18 May 2021 woman human rights defender Saba Kord Afshari ended her hunger strike in Qarchak prison after the deterioration of her health condition.

Saba Kord Afshari’s mother, woman human rights defender Raheleh Ahmadi who is detained in Evin prison asked her daughter to end her hunger strike, or she would also go on hunger strike and additionally cease taking her medication.

On 8 May 2021, Saba Kord Afshari began a hunger strike in Qarchak prison to protest the detention of her mother Raheleh Ahmadi in Evin prison despite the deterioration of her health.

11 May 2021
Saba Kord Afshari on hunger strike

On 8 May 2021, Saba Kord Afshari began a hunger strike in Qarchak prison to protest the detention of her mother, woman human rights defender Raheleh Ahmadi, in Evin prison despite the deterioration of her health.

The woman human rights defender announced her hunger strike on 8 May, as Raheleh Ahmadi is losing her ability to move and is reliant on assistance to walk and carry out basic tasks. On 9 December 2020, Raheleh Ahmadi suffered a nervous breakdown and as a result lost movement in her left leg. Her request for medical care remained unanswered until 14 March 2021, when the woman human rights defender was granted medical leave for 26 days. After completing this medical leave, the woman human rights defender returned to Evin prison. Doctors have prescribed laser lumbar surgery, extensive physiotherapy sessions and bed rest until recovery for Raheleh Ahmadi, which according to Saba Kord Afshari, is not feasible as long as her mother remains in detention.

On 26 January 2021, women’s rights defender Saba Kord Afshari was physically assaulted by prison security officers and forcibly transferred from Ward 8 to Ward 6 of Qarachak prison. After the assault, the women’s rights defender reported gastrointestinal bleeding but was not provided with medical attention. Her request to receive adequate medical examinations has been pending since September 2020, after she was taken to Taleghani Hospital and returned to Evin prison without receiving the necessary medical treatment. The woman human rights defender has been diagnosed with stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal complications, which require immediate medical treatment.

 

6 April 2021
Saba Kord Afshari granted short leave from prison

On 3 April 2021, woman human rights defender Saba Kord Afshari was granted a seven-day leave period from Qarchak prison in Varamin, where she is currently serving a seven-and-a-half year prison sentence. The week’s leave was granted on a bail worth 22 billion IRR.

The short leave of absence from prison was granted after the woman human rights defender tested positive for COVID-19 on 14 March 2021.

20 March 2021
Saba Kord Afshari in poor health following positive COVID-19 test

On 17 March 2021, Saba Kord Afshari reported that she had fainted three times in the three days since she tested positive for COVID-19. On at least one occasion after fainting, the woman human rights defender was taken to the prison’s clinic where she received oxygen, before being returned to Ward 6 of Qarchak prison.

Saba Kord Afshari tested positive for COVID-19 on 14 March 2021, six days after she first displayed symptoms, including fever, chest pain, and a dry cough. It has been reported that many inmates in Ward 6 of Qarchak prison in Varamin have been displaying COVID-19 symptoms due to the direct transfer of newly arrived prisoners without prior testing, and the absence of social distancing and quarantine measures, under the pretext of lack of space.

 

10 March 2021
Prison sentence of Saba Kord Afshari reduced to 7 years and 6 months

On 9 March 2021, woman human rights defender Saba Kord Afshari was informed that Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals had ruled to reduce her prison sentence to 7 years and 6 months. The Court’s ruling amended what was a judicial violation by the Tehran Revolutionary Court in its initial sentencing of the woman human rights defender in June 2020, when it increased the given sentence by 150%, bringing her total sentence to 15 years imprisonment. This amendment, and the application of the May law which provides that the sentences of political prisoners may be reduced, allowed for the prison sentence of Saba Kord Afshari to be shortened.

On 8 March 2021, the woman rights defender was allowed to have a phone call with her mother, Raheleh Ahmadi, a woman human rights defender imprisoned in Evin prison, for the first time since her transfer to Qarchak prison in December 2020. The law provides for meetings between imprisoned family members, even if they are incarcerated in separate prisons.

 

28 January 2021
Women’s rights defender Saba Kord Afshari physically assaulted in prison

On 26 January 2021, women’s rights defender Saba Kord Afshari was physically assaulted by prison security officers and forcibly transferred from Ward 8 to Ward 6 of Qarachak prison, where she will be detained with prisoners convicted of public-order crimes.

After the assault, the women’s rights defender reported gastrointestinal bleeding but was not given medical attention. Her request to receive adequate medical examinations have been pending since September 2020, after she was taken to Taleghani Hospital and returned to Evin prison without receiving the required medical treatment. The woman human rights defender has been diagnosed with stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal complications, which require immediate medical treatment.

9 December 2020
Saba Kord Afshari transferred to Qarchak prison

On 9 December 2020, Saba Kord Afshari was transferred to Qarchak prison. Even though the transfer was ordered by the assistant prosecutor, no explanation has been presented to the women’s rights defender either in written or oral form. Saba Kord Afshari was previously sentenced by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to 24 years in prison, of which a maximum of 15 years is executable.

During Saba Kord Afshari's transfer, her mother, Raheleh Ahmadi, who is also a women’s rights defender, and who is currently serving a 31-month sentence in Evin prison, requested that she be transferred with her daughter to Qrachak prison. Her request was refused by the prison officials.

In recent months, a large number of detained women human rights defenders have been transferred from the Evin Women's Ward to other prisons which have poorer hygienic and living conditions. Saba Kord Afshari was transferred to Taleghani Hospital earlier this year, after suffering health complications throughout the year. It was discovered in hospital that she suffers from gastrointestinal complications and stomach ulcers, underlying conditions for which she requires medical treatment.

11 November 2020
Saba Kord Afshari’s request for retrial rejected by the Supreme Court

On 9 November 2020, Branch 28 of the Supreme Court rejected woman human rights defender Saba Kord Afshari’s request for retrial. The woman human rights defender’s lawyer requested the retrial following a number of judicial irregularities in her case.

On 17 March 2020, an acquittal had been issued in writing to Kord Afshari by the Evin Prosecutor’s Office on her 15 year sentence of “promoting corruption and prostitution” for appearing without a headscarf in public. Her lawyer expressed concern about the acquittal at the time, which was communicated informally, arguing that it may violate her right to a fair trial. On 1 June 2020, her lawyer was informed that the aquittal had been overturned, and the 15 year conviction once again applied. The woman human rights defender, who has been detained since 1 June 2019, is also serving time in prison for a number of other convictions and could now face a combined 24 years in prison.

29 September 2020
Women's rights defender denied necessary treatment on the pretext of cost

On 19 September 2020, Saba Kord Afshari was returned to Evin prison without receiving required medical treatment. She was transferred to Taleghani hospital the same day after her health seriously deteriorated. Her doctor had advised that she needed an ultrasound, colonoscopy, and endoscopy. However, she was returned to prison after undergoing only an ultrasound.  The defender was told that she would not receive the other procedures as she did not have the money to pay for them. However, according to regulations of the Organization of Prisons, the expenses for medical treatment of prisoners should be paid by that organization. Saba Kord Afshari's family had been told that she was in a different hospital in order to ensure they would not be able to meet with her or pay for her treatment.

Earlier this year, on 29 May 2020, the human rights defender was transferred to Taleghani Hospital for the first time, after a year of complaints of poor health. It was discovered in hospital that the women rights defender suffers from gastrointestinal complications and stomach ulcers. 

3 June 2020
Women's rights defender Saba Kord Afshari sentenced to 15 years in prison

On 1 June 2020, the lawyer of Saba Kord Afshari was informed that the verdict of the appeals court had been changed and that the woman human rights defender had now received a 15-year prison sentence. Previously, an acquittal had been issued in writing on March 17 2020 by the Evin Prosecutor’s Office. She had faced the charge of “promoting corruption and prostitution through appearing without a headscarf in public”. Her lawyer has expressed concerns regarding the acquittal, which was communicated to her in prison, emphasizing the unlawful proceedings in her case. Kord Afshari, who is currently serving a nine-year sentence, can face up to 24 years of imprisonment in total.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Saba Kord Afshari is a young (22 year old) women’s rights defender, who has been campaigning against the mandatory veil in Iran. She took part in the White Wednesdays- My Stealthy Freedom campaign which encourages women to appear in public without headscarf and post their photos/videos on social media to raise awareness in opposition to forced veiling laws. In reaction to the growing number of women peacefully joining this campaign, Iranian police warned on 23 February 2018 that those joining this campaign will be facing charges on “inciting and facilitating corruption and prostitution” which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years of prison.

Despite the maximum of 10 years imprisonment foreseen in Islamic Penal Code, on August 27, 2019, Saba Kord Afshari was initially sentenced to a total of 24 years in prison, following a trial that took place on August 19, 2019. Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolution Court of Tehran sentenced Saba to 15 years in prison for “encouraging people to commit immorality and/or prostitution” seven years and six months for “gathering and collusion against internal or external security” and one year and six months for “spreading propaganda against the system”. She was also sentenced to a ban on social activities. The court issued the maximum sentence stipulated by the Islamic Penal Code for each charge and increased it by half, based on the multiplicity of charges against her and Kord Afshari’s previous conviction in 2018.

Saba Kord Afshari was arrested for the first time on August 2, 2018, alongside many others, during a series of protests that occurred July-August 2018 against the deterioration of Iran’s economy as well as the corruption within government. She was first transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin and later, in October 2018, to Evin prison’s women’s ward. In August 2018, she was sentenced to one year in prison on the charge of “disrupting the public order” at Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. She was released along with a large number of prisoners on 14 February 2019 as a part of general pardon coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

Saba Kord-Afshari was rearrested on June 1, 2019 in her house and the following day, she was charged with “encouraging people to commit immorality and/or prostitution” for removing her hijab and walking without hijab, as well as the two other charges. On June 11, 2019, she was sent to Qarchak prison near Tehran. She was denied contact with a lawyer and pressured by the authorities to incriminate herself in a televised appearance. Saba was eventually transferred to the women’s ward of Evin on August 13, 2019. The authorities detained her mother, Raheleh Ahmadi, from July 10 to 14, 2019 to harass Kard Afshari further, and the 26 Branch of Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Raheleh to 31 months in prison on 16 December 2019. Raheleh is currently serving her sentence in Evin prison alongside her daughter. Neither Saba, nor her mother have been granted temporary release during the COVID19 outbreak.