Narges Mohammadi and Aliyeh Motallebzadeh Arrested and Sent Back to Qarchak Prison

On Tuesday, April 12, 2022, human Rights activist Narges Mohammadi and women’s rights activist Aliyeh Motallebzadeh were arrested and sent back to prison while there were on furlough. In late February, these citizens were released on medical furlough.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Tuesday, April 12, Narges Mohammadi and Aliyeh Motallebzadeh were arrested and sent back to Qarchak prison in Varamin City.

On her personal page on social media, Mrs Mohammadi informed  that she had to return to prison while she was still in recovery afopen-heart surgery recovery,

Also, Aliyeh Motallebzadeh, who was on furlough for medical treatment since February 23, 2022, returned to Qarchak prison.

Narges Mohammadi is a human rights activist and the vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center. Aliyeh Motallebzadeh is a photographer, women rights activist and a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign for Gender Equality as well as a campaign to protect acid attack victims. Narges Mohammadi and Aliyeh Motallebzadeh are currently serving respectively their eight and three years sentences in Qarchak prison located in Varamin City.

Imprisoned Civil Activist Saba Kord Afshari Attacked in Qarchak Prison

On February 20, imprisoned civil activist Saba Kord Afshari was attacked by one of her fellow inmates in Qarchak Prison. Afshari’s attacker is a prisoner of violent crime. Due to co-housing with prisoners of violent crime, which violates prison rules, political prisoners and prisoners of conscience’s life and safety are jeopardized. On Monday, Afshari was granted furlough for a short period.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, an informed source told HRANA that “Today at 12:30 an inmate charged with a violent crime attacked Saba from behind in the corridor. She tried to choke Saba by encircling the arm around her neck. One of the inmates, however, helped Saba to free herself from the attacker. All this time, the guards are just watching. The verbal quarrel between Saba and this inmate had been neglected before as well”.

Afshari is a civil activist and prominent critic of the compulsory hijab in Iran. She was convicted for her civil activities and in February of 2019, she was freed after serving her sentence. On June 1, 2019, she was arrested at her home and transferred to prison after completing an interrogation.

On September 5, 2019, Afshari was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to 15 years imprisonment for “promoting corruption and obscenity through appearing without a headscarf in public”, 1 year and 6 months of imprisonment for “propaganda against the regime” and 7 years and 6 months in prison for “assembly and collusion to act against national security” . This totals 24 years in prison along with social deprivation. After applying Article 134 and adjusting the sentences, the severest punishment of 7 years and 6 months in prison is enforceable.

This verdict, which was increased two and half times more due to a previous record, was finally corrected and reduced from 15 years to 7 years and 6 months.
 
On May 8 of this year, 22 year old Afshari went on a 10 day hunger strike to protest against increasing pressure on her family as well as the families of fellow political prisoners, and to demand the release of her mother, Raheleh Ahmadi. Upon finishing her strike, the young activist said: “I am fully aware that human lives are of no value to the Islamic Republic, so I am ending my hunger strike, but I am still seeking to fulfill my demands.”

On December 9, 2020, she was transferred from Evin Prison to exile to Qarchak Prison.

Shakila Monfared Denied Access to Medical Treatment in Qarchak Prison

Political prisoner Shakila Monfared, who suffers from gastrointestinal disease and severe stomach pain, has been denied access to adequate medical treatment in Qarchak Prison in Varamin City.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, prison officials have barred her dispatch to a hospital outside the prison as well as leave on furlough for medical treatment.

“For the fifth time, her request for furlough has been rejected,” an informed source told HRANA. “They mentioned a report from the interrogator and judiciary officers on her interview with one of the media as the reason for this rejection. This claim stands at odd with the fact that she never had any interview and the interrogator refuses to provide any proof regarding this claim.”

On August 31, 2020, security forces arrested Monfared while she was leaving her home. They transferred her to one of the detention centers at disposal of IRGC in Tehran. Reportedly, they did not have a warrant for this arrest.

On September 9, of last year she was relocated to the quarantine section of the women ward of Evin Prison. On September 14, she was released on a bail of 400 million tomans until the end of legal proceedings.

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 granted furlough on August 23 of this year and returned to jail on September 7.

Mojgan Keshavarz Granted Leave on Bail from Qarchak Prison in Varamin

On Wednesday, October 6, civil activist Mojgan Keshavarz was granted a five-day leave on bail from prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Keshavarz is serving out her five-and-a-half-year prison sentence in Qarchak Prison in Varamin.

On April 25, 2019, intelligence forces raided Keshavarz’s home and arrested her. She was under interrogation in the detention facility of the intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Guards, known as the 2A section of Evin Prison, until May 1, and then transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin. She was relocated to Evin prison on August 12, 2020, and sent back again to Qarchak Prison on December 5, 2020.

Branch 28 of the revolutionary court in Tehran sentenced the civil activist to a total of 22 years in prison. She received 5 years on a charge of “assembly and collusion in the purpose of acting against national security”, 10 years on a charge of “provoking and provision of impurity and indecency”, and 7 years and six months on a charge of ” blasphemy”.  Later the sentence was reduced to 12 years and 7 months on appeal.

According to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the severest enforceable punishment for the charge of ” provoking and provision of impurity and indecency ” is five and half years imprisonment.

Mojgan Keshavarz is 38 years old and a mother of a ten-year-old daughter.

Inmate Dies of COVID After Facing Medical Negligence in Qarchak Prison in Varamin

Today, Wednesday, September 22, Ms. Giti Haj Rahimi died of COVID in the quarantine section of Ward 9 of Qarchak Prison in Varamin after facing medical negligence from prison authorities.

According to HRANA, the news agency of the Human Rights Activists, Haj Rahimi had been convicted for financial crimes. HRANA has verified Ms. Haj Rahimi’s identity.

Ms. Haj Rahimi, who had been serving her sentence in Ward 6 of Qarchak Prison, was recently transferred to a solitary confinement cell for quarantine after she was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Ms. Haj Rahimi was also diabetic and had previously lost one of her fingers to this disease during her imprisonment.

Haj Rahimi’s death has not been announced by the Iranian media or official sources as of this writing.

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Concern Increases about Political Prisoner Zahra Safaei’s Condition Following her Transfer to Unknown Location

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.

Saba Kord Afshari Sent on 15 Day Leave from Qarchak Prison in Varamin

Yesterday, imprisoned civil activist Saba Kord Afshari was sent on a 15-day leave from Qarchak Prison in Varamin.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, yesterday, August 11, the activist was allowed medical leave after receiving a positive COVID test.

Saba Kord Afshari is a civil activist and prominent critic of the compulsory hijab in Iran. On September 5, 2019, Afshari  was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by judge Iman Afshari, to 15 years imprisonment for “promoting corruption and obscenity through appearing without a headscarf in public”,  and 1 year and 6 months of imprisonment for “propaganda against the regime” and 7 years and 6 months in prison for “assembly and collusion with an intent to commit a crime against national security” to a total of 24 years in prison along with other social deprivations, from which, after applying Article 134 and adjustment of the sentences, the most severe punishment of 7 years and 6 months in prison is enforceable to her.

On May 8 of this year, 22-year-old Kord Afshari began what would be a 10 day hunger strike to protest the increasing pressure on her family and family of fellow political prisoners, and to demand the release of her mother, Raheleh Ahmadi. Upon finishing her strike, the young activist said, in a statement, “I am fully aware that human lives are of no value to the Islamic Republic, so I am ending my hunger strike, but I am still seeking to fulfill my demands.”

Despite the widespread prevalence of COVID-19 within Iran’s prison system, inmates are frequently deprived of adequate and timely medical treatment.

Azadeh Zeinali on a Hunger Strike in Qarchak Prison in Varamin

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.”

Political Prisoner Shakila Monfared Beaten by Inmates in Qarchak Prison

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.

Saba Kord Afshari was sentenced to extra 15 years of imprisonment despite being acquitted

Saba Kord Afshari, a civil activist who is currently imprisoned in Evin Prison, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for “promoting corruption”, a charge of which she was previously acquitted. Her lawyer has expressed his concerns regarding her acquittal which was communicated to her in prison, emphasizing the unlawful proceedings of her case. Should this error in judgment fail to be remedied Ms. Kord Afshari, who is currently serving a nine-year sentence can face up to 24 years of imprisonment in total.

According to HRANA Saba Kord Afshari, a civil activist imprisoned in Evin Prison was informed of her acquittal from a 15-year sentenced on the charge of “spreading corruption”. Hossein Taj, Ms. Kord Afshari’s lawyer states: “On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, Saba Kord Afshari contacted me from Evin Prison and informed me that she was informed of re-announcement of her previous sentence of 15 years, from which she was acquitted in the appeals court. According to her, this was done through a letter issued by the execution division, although I was informed of her acquittal in person following her court at Branch 36 of the Court of Appeal. I was informed today that the content of her verdict of the appeals court (from which she was acquitted) has changed, and I intend to follow up with the intelligence department of the Judiciary system.”

Ms. Kord Afshari received this new verdict after she was issued an acquittal in writing on March 17, 2018, by the Evin Prosecutor’s Office on the charge of “promoting corruption and prostitution through appearing without a headscarf in public.” On May 26, 2020, she received another notice by the Ershad Prosecutor’s Office in which she is sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for “promoting corruption and prostitution through appearing without a headscarf in public” 1 year and 6 months of imprisonment for “propaganda against the regime.” As well as “assembly and collusion with an intent to commit a crime against the national security.”

 

Arrest

Saba Kord Afshari was arrested for the first time on August 2, 2018, alongside 50 others, during a series of protests that occurred July-August 2018 against the deterioration of Iran’s economy as well as the corruption within the 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 led by Judge Moghiseh. She was released on 14 February 2019 when Iran’s Supreme Leader pardoned a large number of prisoners in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

On June 2, 2019, Ms. Kord Afshari was rearrested by security forces at her home and was transferred to the Vozara Detention Center in Tehran. Her house was searched during this raid, and several items of her personal belongings including her mobile phone and laptop were also confiscated. This civil activist was charged only one day after her arrest in Branch 1 of the General and Revolutionary Court of Tehran’s 21st District Court (Ershad Prosecutor’s Office) and was transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin for interrogation for 11 days, on June 21st she was transferred from Qarchak to the IRGC Intelligence center of Evin Prison’s Ward 2-A and was once again returned to Qarchak Prison on July 2, 2019.

 

Trial

Saba Kord Afshari was transferred to Evin Prison on August 13, 2019, and her trial was held on August 19, 2018. Finally, on September 26, 2019, she was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari. Her sentences included 15 years of imprisonment on the charge of “promoting corruption and prostitution through appearing without a headscarf in public” 1 year and 6 months in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the state” and 7 years and 6 months in prison on the charge of ” assembly and collusion with an intent to commit a crime against the national security”, which adds up to a total of 24 years in prison along with other social deprivations. Due to the number of crimes and previous records, each charge was added by one-half. This sentence was reduced to nine years in prison in December 2019 at Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals, presided over by Judge Ahmad Zargar.

In accordance with Court of Appeals, Saba Kord Afshari was sentenced to 1 year and 6 months imprisonment on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” and 7 years and 6 months in prison on charges of ” assembly and collusion with an intent to commit a crime against national security.”Based on Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that Ms. Kord Afshari should serve 7 years and six months in prison for the charge of “assembly and collusion to commit a crime against the security of the country”. Hossein Taj, Ms. Kord Afshari’s lawyer, has previously stated: “The Court of Appeals acquitted Saba Kordafsari of a part of her charges and as a result, her sentence was reduced to 9 years, 7.5 of which are imposable by law. We also remain hopeful that the Judiciary system mitigates the sentences of Ms. Kord Afshari and other political prisoners.” Now, if the penal system fails to correct their violations, Ms. Kord Afshari, who is serving a nine-year prison sentence in Evin Prison, could face up to 24 years in prison.

It should be noted that Raheleh Ahmadi, a civil activist and Saba Kord Afshari’s mother, is also serving a 31-month prison term at Evin Prison alongside her daughter.

Saba Kord Afshari was born on July 7, 1998.