On Saturday, September 4, political prisoner Zahra Safaei was transferred from prison to an unknown location following a heart attack.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Safaei was being held in Qarchak Prison in Varamin until her transfer.
Neglect of Ms. Safaei’s condition, especially after her recent heart attack and poor physical condition, has raised concerns among her family. She had also been transferred to Sattari Hospital in Qarchak last week on the order of a prison doctor but was returned to prison without medical treatment.
Ms. Safaei was summoned in July 2020 and was transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin the next day since she was not able to provide the required bail of ten billion tomans.
In January of this year, Branch 23 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Mohammad Mehdi Shahmirzadi, sentenced Ms. Safaei to 5 years in prison on a charge of “propaganda activities against the national security”, one year in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the regime”, and 2 years in prison on the charge of “insulting the leadership and founder of the Islamic Republic”.
She was also sentenced to a ban from leaving the country and from joining political parties and social groups.
Zahra Safaei has a history of arrest. She spent time in prison as a social-political activist in the 1980s. Her father was executed in the 1980s for supporting MEK.
Safaei’s location and fate are unknown as of this writing.
Azadeh Zeinali, a theater director who is currently serving out a sentence in Qarchak Prison in Varamin, has been on a hunger strike since July 22.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Insaf News, Zelani was imprisoned on financial charges and is using the hunger strike to protest delays in the processing of her case.
“My case is being processed very slowly, otherwise I should have gone on leave by now,” Zeinali (whose stage name is Elena Javid) said. “I have been on a hunger strike to protest this. I am currently in Qarchak prison. I was told I will be released on bail.”
On Monday, June 7, political prisoner Shakila Monfared was beaten by several prisoners in Qarchak Prison in Varamin after being held in a section that houses prisoners of violent crimes–a violation of the UN principle of separation of prisoners based on crime.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, per an informed source, several prisoners of disparate crimes severely insulted and beat Monfared with the sharp lid of a can of tuna after the instigation of a member of prison staff.
This is yet another case of the widespread practice of Iranian prison officials punitively orchestrating situations in which inmates sentenced for violent crimes assault political prisoners–particularly in women’s wards. This allows the prisons to effectively impose physical assault as punishment without officially claiming responsibility for the damage.
In January of this year, the joint court trial of Shakila Monfared, Arsham Rezaei, and Mohammad Abolhassani was held in Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari. 27-year-old Monfared was sentenced to 6 years in prison and 4 months of probation work in the Agricultural Jihad on charges of “propaganda activities against the system and insulting the sanctities of Islam”.
Monfared was arrested by IRGC intelligence agents after the court hearing and was transferred to Bushehr prison. Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals later reduced the sentence to 4 years and two months in prison. She had previously been transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin from Bushehr Prison on May 12.