Atena Daemi and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee on hunger strike, facing violence from prison guards
Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned at the renewed crackdown on human rights defenders (HRDs) in Iran and in particular at recent reports of the ill-treatment of HRDs Atena Daemi and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee in Gharchak prison.
On 03 February Atena Daemi and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee announced that they were refusing food in protest to the Iranian regime’s breach of the principle of classification and separation of prisoners and their own illegal exile to Varamin’s Qarchak Prison. They are demanding their return to Evin Prison’s women’s ward and the return to Evin of political prisoner Soheil Arabi, who is also in exile in Gohardasht Prison. A writer, blogger and activist, Soheil Arabi went on hunger strike on January 25, 2018, to protest at the illegal banishment of the two imprisoned women. Atena and Golrokh have stated that they will start with a wet hunger strike but will extend this to a dry hunger strike if their demands have not been met inside one week. On 28 January the Prosecutor’s representative in Tehran’s Evin Prison announced that Atena Daemi would not be returned to Evin Prison.
At 6:30pm on the evening of 24 January 2018 agents came to the women’s ward of Evin Prison and told Atena and Golrokh that they needed to come with them to the prison’s office in connection with new charges. Instead the two women were taken to Ward 2-A, controlled by the Revolutionary Guards, and one of the female guards tried to beat them, but was stopped by other guards who said they did not want to beat Atena. Then five other guards came and attacked Atena and Golrokh. At 9:30pm that night they were taken to Gharchak Prison, in the city of Varamin, 37 miles south of the capital.
Atena Daemi and Iraee had previously been ordered to appear at Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court in Evin Prison in early January 2018 for allegedly insulting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and reciting a political poem in prison. But the two refused, stating they had not been summoned in writing—the proper legal procedure.
Since November 2016 Atena Daemi has been serving a seven year sentence for the charges of meeting the families of political prisoners, criticising the Islamic Republic of Iran on Facebook and condemning the 1988 mass executions of political prisoners in Iran.
Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, an accountant, began serving a six-year sentence in October 2016 for “insulting the sacred” and “propaganda against the state,” primarily for writing an unpublished story about stoning that was confiscated during a raid of her home by the Revolutionary Guards. The raid was initially organised against Iraee’s husband, civil rights activist Arash Sadeghi, who is serving a 19-year sentence.
Front Line Defenders reiterates its call for the immediate and unconditional release of Atena Daemi and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee. The organisation also demands that they be returned to the womens’ ward in Evin Prison and that there be an investigation into the attack on the two HRDs.