EX-POLITICAL PRISONER DETAINED, RISKS TORTURE
Amnesty International – Former prisoner of conscience Arash Sadeghi has been held in Tehran’s Evin Prison since 6 September. He is believed to be in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer and he has yet to be charged. He may be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
Arash Sadeghi, a former student activist at Allameh Tabataba’i University, was arrested on 6 September at his workplace in Tehran by men in civilian clothing believed to belong to the Revolutionary Guards. The men took him to his house, searched his possessions and seized items including his laptop, notebooks and some CDs. He has since been held in solitary confinement in Section 2A of Tehran’s Evin Prison, without access to a lawyer. He has only been allowed to make brief phone calls to his father. Amnesty International understands that Arash Sadeghi has not been charged and the authorities have refused to tell his family about his situation or why he was arrested.
Arash Sadeghi was first arrested in July 2009 for taking part in demonstrations that followed the disputed presidential election. Since then he has been arrested and bailed several times. In 2010 he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment after Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court convicted him of “gathering and colluding against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the system”. He was acquitted of the second charge on appeal and his sentence was reduced to one year’s imprisonment with a further four years suspended. He was released in October 2011 after serving his sentence but was arrested again in January 2012 and held mainly in solitary confinement in Evin Prison until October 2013, when he was released on bail.
It is feared that Arash Sadeghi was arrested in connection with his critical posts on Facebook about the authorities, and interviews he had given to the media about his experience in detention. Arash Sadeghi may require medical attention for injuries he says he has sustained from torture and other ill-treatment, including a dislocated shoulder.
Arash Sadeghi was first arrested on 9 July 2009 for his involvement in the demonstrations that followed the disputed 2009 re-election of President Ahmadinejad; he had been a member of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s student team during the presidential campaign. He had been a postgraduate student at Allameh Tabataba’i University but was banned from continuing his studies. Following his July 2009 arrest, he was held for 90 days in Section 2A of Tehran’s Evin Prison, which is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards, before being released on bail. He was barred from making any phone calls while he was detained, and his family were given no information about him. He was arrested again on 27 December 2009 but was released in March 2010 after securing bail. Only five days after his release he was arrested again and detained until 21 October 2010 when he was allowed out on leave.
A week later the security forces looking to arrest Arash Sadeghi broke a window to get into his home in the middle of the night. Arash Sadeghi, who had been spending the night at his grandmother’s home, later said in an interview that his mother suffered a heart attack when the security forces broke in. She died four days later in hospital. During an interview the next month with news website Rooz Online, Arash Sadeghi said that he had been tortured and otherwise ill-treated. He said he had been hung from the ceiling by one leg and left hanging for up to five hours at a time, beaten so severely that his shoulder was dislocated twice and his teeth were broken, and suffered damage to his eardrum after interrogators repeatedly slapped him round the head. He also alleged that interrogators had sought to degrade him by forcing him to lick a soiled toilet bowl, urinating on his face and into his mouth and preventing him from bathing. He said interrogators had kicked him and punched him in the face while he was blindfolded, harming his eyes and causing him temporary loss of vision, and threatened to have him tried on a charge of moharebeh (enmity against God), which could carry the death penalty. He said interrogators told him to “confess” in front of their film camera that he had links with the outlawed People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran and others outside Iran, and threatened to arrest his mother and get his father dismissed from his post in the Iranian army when he refused.
Arash Sadeghi was released in October 2011 after serving his one-year prison sentence but was rearrested on 15 January 2012 and transferred immediately to solitary confinement in Section 209 of Evin Prison. He was then held for 22 months in Sections 209 and 240. During this time he was allowed only two visits from his family and was allowed no access to a lawyer. He was allegedly tortured or otherwise ill-treated and was pressured to stop pursuing the complaint he had lodged against the member of the security forces who had raided his house in October 2010, which he said had caused his mother a fatal heart attack. He was accused of organizing a student protest at Allameh Tabataba’i University and having contact with families of political prisoners. He was charged with “gathering and colluding against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the system” eight months after his arrest. Amnesty International understands that he had not yet been summoned in relation to these charges when he was most recently arrested. Arash Sadeghi’s wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, and two other men, Navid Kamran and Behnam Mousivand, were arrested along with Arash Sadeghi but have since been released on bail.
Under Article 48 of Iran’s amended Code of Criminal Procedures, which came into law in April 2014, “an accused [person] can request the presence of a lawyer at the onset of detention”. However, according to the Note to the Article, if the accused has been detained on suspicion of committing certain offences including organized crime, crimes against national security, theft and drug-related offences, he or she will not be allowed access to a lawyer until up to a week after arrest.