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.

Saba Kord Afshari Gives Statement Upon End of Hunger Strike

Saba Kord Afshari, an activist imprisoned in Qarchak Prison in Varamin, has given a statement since ending her hunger strike on May 17.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, 22-year-old Kord Afshari had been on a hunger strike since May 8 to protest the increasing pressure on her family and family of fellow political prisoners, and to demand the release of her mother, Raheleh Ahmadi.

Kord Afshari has written a letter explaining her physical condition and the reasons why she ended the strike. Below is the full letter, which was provided to HRANA to be published:

 

” For years, protests and strikes have been answered with beatings and bullets. For years, when we have opened our mouths to talk about the oppression of our rights and beliefs, the only answers we have received have been arrest, solitary confinement, physical and mental torture, imprisonment, and execution.

It has been years of families seeking justice for the murder and imprisonment of their children, and then receiving nothing but the same treatment.

For years [the regime] has been trying to destroy thoughts, reason, and the right to choose. It has tried to spread dogmatism and to turn its people into unquestioning robots.

But they can never inject us with what is in their rusty brains. They cannot impose upon us the ideas that even they themselves do not believe. They treat our raised fists with guns and weapons, and they destroy the pens that express our beliefs and aspirations.

The same goes for prisons. They use a variety of methods to silence the prisoner, whose only tool to fight is hunger strike and sit-down strike. Demands are met with violence.

 You destroyed our bodies and our pens; but how can you destroy the thoughts that we are not afraid to express? The struggle for freedom does not end with pressure or threats, but instead finds a way to prevail in a stormy environment.

On May 8, 2021, I started a hunger strike demanding an end to the pressure on families of political prisoners and the release of my mother, Raheleh Asl Ahmadi; but unfortunately, my physical condition is not good.

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.

Oppression has never lasted and it never will.”

 

Saba Kordafshari / May 17, 2021 / Qarchak prison in Varamin.

Civil Activist Saba Kord Afshari on Hunger Strike in Qarchak Prison

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, civil activist Saba Kord Afshari went on a hunger strike on Saturday, May 8th.

22-year-old Kord Afshari, currently imprisoned in Qarchak Prison in Varamin, went on said strike to protest the increasing pressure on her family and other political prisoners in the aftermath of her public criticism of the compulsory hijab.

Kord Afshari demands the release of her mother, Raheleh Ahmadi, who was sent to Evin Prison for giving information about her daughter’s [Saba’s] living conditions in Qarchak.

While in Evin Prison, Raheleh Ahmadi developed a ruptured disc which relegated her to a walker, likely due to chronic stress after her daughter’s imprisonment. Ahmadi was granted medical leave on bail on March 14th, but was denied by prison authorities the two-month recovery period recommended for her surgery.

On April 3, 2021, Saba Kord Afshari was granted a short-term leave on a bail and returned to prison on April 10. On that same day, Ahmadi was returned to Evin Prison.

Kord Afshari’s embroilment in the penal system has been ongoing . In February 2019,  the young activist was released from the women’s ward of Evin Prison from her previous conviction. In June 2019, she was again detained by security forces and was later transferred to prison after interrogations.

In August 2019, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari, sentenced Saba to 15 years imprisonment on the charge of “spreading depravity by uncovering a hijab and walking without a hijab”; 1 year and 6 months in prison on the charge of “Propaganda against the regime;” and 7 years and 6 months in prison for “Gathering and colluding with the intention of committing a crime against the security of the country”– a total of 24 years in prison along with other social deprivations.

Due to the multiplicity of offenses and previous criminal record, each of the charged sentences were cumulative, of which 15 years in prison was enforceable.

With a correction of judicial misconduct that had caused two and half times to increase in the sentences, and with punishment reduction law, 7 years and 6 months imprisonment will be enforceable.

Saba Kord Afshari has suffered from gastrointestinal bleeding several times before. This, along with the hunger strike has raised concerns about her health among her family members.

First six months of Ebrahim Raisi as Justiciary Chief of Iran; 1000 years of prison sentences and 1500 lashes for activists

Ebrahim Raisi is a former Custodian and Chairman of Astan Quds Razavi from 2016 to 2019 and a member of so-called “death commission” during the 1988 executions which were series of state-sponsored execution of political prisoners across the country. He succeeded Sadegh Larijani as the Judiciary Chief (the head of judicial system of Iran) in 2019. Being appointed as the Judiciary Chief by the Supreme leader, Ebrahim Raisi claimed that he wants the Iranian people to taste “the sweet flavor of justice” by reforming the judicial system to bring more justice and fairness. Six months after being appointed to the new position, the verdicts of political prisoners indicate that the pressure is increased on the civil rights activists and opposition groups in Iran. During six months of Ebrahim Raisi in office, political activists were sentenced to 1,027 years in prison and 1428 lashes.  Therefore, the verdicts targeting civil rights activists and opposition groups were increased by 119% compared to a similar time period during his predecessor, Sadegh Larijani, who was in office for nine and half years. Although Larijani faced massive demonstrations such as uprisings across the country in January 2017 and August 2018, protests in the Khuzestan province, and Dervishes protests which Raisi has not faced any yet.

Statistics Comparison of Verdicts with the Former Judiciary Chief

The following is a summary of verdicts between March 8, 2019 to September 8, 2019 which was gathered and analyzed by the Department of Statistics and Publication of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI): According to statistics, during this period, both sentences against political and civil activists or years of sentences were increased. 211 political or civil activists including advocates of freedom of expression, women rights activists, syndicates activists, students, ethnicity rights activists, labor rights activists, minority rights advocates, and religion activists were sentenced by the Revolutionary Court across the country to 1027 and six months of imprisonment, 418 million and 350 thousand Tomans of fines, and 428 lashes. Out of these numbers, 966 years and 8 months in prison sentences and 30 years and 10 months are suspended prison sentences. In comparison to the same period when Larijani was the Judiciary Chief, March 8 to September 8, 2018, 278 political and civil activists were sentenced to 468 years and one month in prison, 254 million Tomans fines, and 891 lashes. This comparison is based on the numbers of individual cases but mass sentences for the arrestees of uprisings such as 232 verdicts of Gonabadi dervishes in the case of so-called “Golestan Haftom” have been excluded. Overall, these statistics indicated that although the number of arrestees has been decreased in Raisi’s term but the average number of verdicts in comparison to the same period in the Larijani’s term has been increased.

The Names of 211 Activists Who Were Sentenced to Prison Term or Lashes During Ebrahim Raeissi’s term

Kiumars Marzban, Shima Babai Zeydi, Dariush Abdar, Mahmood Masoumi, Behnam Mousavand, Saeed Eghbali, Mojgan Lali, Saeed Seyfi Jahan, Shaghayegh Makai, Nader Afshari, Anoushah Ashouri, Ali Johari, Marzieh Amiri, Ishaq Rouhi, Mohammad Saber Malek Raeissi, Shir Ahmad Shirani, Kamal Jafari Yazdi, Aras Amiri, Nejat Bahrami, Sadegh Zibaklam, Hamed Ayenehvand, Roozbeh Meshkinkhat, Mohammad Reza Aghajari, Nima Saffar, Khalil Karimi, Mehdi Moghadari, Golraki Ebrahimi Irai, Athena Daemi, Mohammad Reza Khatami, Mohammad Potaiesh, Khadijeh (Leila) Mirghafari, Reza Makian (Malek), Hashem Zeinali, Simin Eyvazzadeh, Ehsan Kheybar, Abdul Azim Arouji, Mohsen Haseli, Mohsen Shojai, Azam Najafi, Parvin Soleimani, Sharmin Yomni, Sara Saei, Arshia Rahmati, Masoud Hamidi, Ali Babai, Ismail Hosseini Koohkamarai, Farideh Toosi, Zahra Modarreszadeh, Amir Mahdi Jalayeri, Mohammad Najafi, Javad Lari, Rahim Mohammadpour, Masoud Kazemi, Sahar Kazemi, Amir Salar Davoodi, Milad Mohammad Hosseini, Abdollah Ghasimpour, Mohammad Hossein Ghasempour, Alireza Habibi, Baktash Abtin, Reza Khand Mahabadi, Keyvan Bajan, Yousef Salahshour, Davood Mahmoodi, Mohammad Asri, Siavash Rezaian, Najaf Mehdipour, Behrooz Zare, Ata’ollah Ahsani, Abbas Nouri Shadkam, Ali Bagheri, Masoud Ajloo, Behzad Ali Bakhshi, Kianoush Ghahramani, Nariman Noroozi, Rezvaneh Ahmad Khanbeigi, Amir Mahdi Sedighara, Ali Amin Amlashi, Barzan Mohammadi, Arsham Rezai, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Michael White, Abolfazl Ghadyani, Nader Fotourehchi, Farhad Sheykhi, Mardas Taheri, Aliyeh Eghdam Doost, Rasoul Bodaghi, Esmail Gerami, Javad Zolnouri, Hossein Gholami, Rahman Abed, Asghar Amirzadegani, Hamid Reza Rahmati, Eghbal Shabani, Mohammad Ali Zahmatkesh, Fatemeh Mohammadi, Bahman Kord, Sina Darvish Omran, Ali Mozafari, Leila Hosseinzadeh, Mojtaba Dadashi, Mohammad Rasoulof, Hossein Janati, Omid Asadi, Sahand Moali, Mohammad Mirzai, Bapir Barzeh, Shirko Ali Mohammadi, Keyvan Nejadrasoul, Tohid Amir Amini, Kianoush Aslani, Abbas Lesani, Mobinollah Veysi, Mojtaba Parvin, Kazem Safabakhsh, Rahim Gholami, Jafar Rostami, Aref Mohammadi, Peyman Mirzazadeh, Samko Jafari, Behzad Shahsavar, Siamand Shahsavar, Salman Afra, Shaker Maravi, Khaled Hosseini, Rasoul Taleb Moghadam, Hasan Saeedi, Hossein Ansari Zadeh, Feisal Saalebi, Saab Zahiri, Adel Samaei, Esmail Jaadeleh, Bani Naami, Omid Azadi, Rostam Abdollah Zadeh, Ali Bani Sadeh, Nasrin Javadi, Tofigh Mahmoudi, Davood Razavi, Amanollah Balochi, Farough Izadi Nia, Moein Mohammadi, Sheida Abedi, Firouz Ahmadi, Khalil Malaki, Simin Mohammadi, Bijan Ahmadi, Maryam Mokhtari, Saghar Mohammadi, Sohrab Malaki, Bahman Salehi, Sofia Mombini, Negin Tadrisi, Kheirollah Bakhshi, Shabnam Issa Khani, Shahryar Khodapanah, Farzad Bahadori, Kambiz Misaghi, Monika Alizadeh, Mino Riazati, Asadollah Jaberi, Ehteram Sheykhi, Emad Jaberi, Farideh Jaberi, Farokhlegha Faramarzi, Pooneh Nasheri, Saba Kord Afshari, Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi, Mojgan Keshavarz, Vida Movahed, Matin Amiri, Maryam Amiri, Atefeh Rangriz, Edris Kasravi, Taher Sufi, Haleh Safarzadeh, Alireza Saghafi, Yousef Jalil, Fatemeh Bakhtari, Zaman Fadai, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Mohsen Haghshenas, Nahid Khodakarami, Raheleh Rahimipour, Alireza Kafai, Mohammad Dorosti, Salar Taher Afshar, Oldoz Ghasemi, Jafar Azimzadeh, Hossein Habibi, Hossein Ghadyani, Mir Mousa Ziagari, Sajad Shahiri, Jafar Pekand , Hamid Balkhkanloo, Ghafour Barham, Vali Nasiri, Sahar Khodayari, Amin Seybar, Esmael Bakhshi, Sepideh Gholian, Amir Amirgholi, Amir Hossein Mohammadi Fard, Sanaz Allahyari, Asal Mohammadi, Mohammad Khanifar.

It should be noted that in addition to aforementioned names, several other activists such as detained environmentalists, arrestees of the International Labor Day’s protest, Baha’i citizens, and supporters of opposition groups are waiting for their verdicts. Based on the outcome of the first six months of Raisi as the Chief Justice of Iran, the continuous increase of the verdicts in the following six months is predictable. On the other hand, according to several lawyers, Raisi is trying to implement a rule in which the appeal’s courts will be in session only after obtaining permissions from the Supreme Leader. Thus, appeals courts will acknowledge the primary verdict without reserving a chance for lawyers and convict to defend.

Ebrahim Raisi’s Background

In 1981, 20-year old Ebrahim Raisi was appointed as the prosecutor of Karaj. Later in 1985, he was appointed as the Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran. He was a member of so-called “death commission” during the 1988 political prisoners’ executions across the country. Raisi was appointed as Tehran’s prosecutor from 1989 to 1994. In 1994-1995, he was appointed as the head of the General Inspection Office. From 2004 until 2014, Raisi served as the First Deputy Chief Justice of Iran. He was later appointed as the Attorney-General of Iran in 2014-2016. He has also served as the Special Clerical Court prosecutor since 2012. He became the Chairman of Astan Quds Razavi on 7 March 2016 after the death of his predecessor Abbas Vaez-Tabasi. He is the second person to serve this office from 1979.  Raisi ran a presidential campaign in February 2017 but after losing the presidential election, he was appointed by Ali Khamenei as a member of Expediency Discernment Council.

The 1988 executions of the Iranian political prisoners were a series of state-sponsored execution of political prisoners, starting on 19 July 1988 and lasting for approximately five months. The majority of those who were killed were supporters of the Mujahedin Khalgh but supporters of other leftist factions such as Communist party were executed as well. The killings have been described as a political purge without precedent in the modern Iranian history, both in terms of scope and coverup. Different sources put the number of victims between 2500 and 30000. Most of the people who were executed had already served their sentences in prison. Hussein-Ali Montazeri, deputy of Supreme Leader of Iran between 1985-1989, named Ebrahim Raisi as one of the people who was in administration of the executions which according to Montazeri, was implemented by a four-men commission, later known as the “death committee”. According to Montazeri, the commission consisted of Ebrahim Raisi, Hossein Ali Nayyeri, Morteza Eshraghi, and Mostafa Pour Mohammadi.

Saba Kord Afshari was sentenced to 24-year prison term

Saba Kord Afshari, a detained women rights activist in Evin prison, was sentenced to 24-year prison term at the Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court led by judge Iman Afshari. Based on the Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that Saba Kord Afshari should serve 15 years in prison.

Saba Kord Afshari was arrested for her involvement in women’s rights advocacy, including protesting against the compulsory Hijab. On 1 June 2019, she was arrested by security forces at her home in Tehran and transferred to Vozara detention Center. The police confiscated some of her belongings, such as her cell phone and her laptop. On 2 June 2019, she appeared before Branch 21 Revolutionary Court in Tehran where she received her formal chargers. She was charged with “gathering and collusion against national security” through supporting political prisoners, “’propaganda against the state’ through collaborating with opposition and subversive groups”, “promoting corruption and prostitution through appearing without a headscarf in public”. She was then transferred to Qarchak prison in Varamin and was detained for a month of which she served 11 days in solitary confinement. She did not have access to an attorney from the time she was arrested until the day of trial. On 2 July 2019, she was transferred to a detention center of the Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps(IRGC) for further interrogations.

Saba Kord Afshari was informed about her indictment on 7 August 2019 in Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. She was tried on August 19 at the Tehran Revolutionary Court as scheduled. She did not have access to a lawyer until the day of her trial on August 19th, 2019, when she met her lawyer in front of the Judge. She was transferred to the court blindfolded and in handcuffs by the officers of IRGC. On August 26, 2019, she was sentenced to 24-year prison term by Branch 26 Tehran Revolutionary Court led by judge Iman Afshari. She was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for the charge of “promoting corruption and prostitution through appearing without a headscarf in public”, one and a half year in prison for the charge of “propaganda against the state”, and seven years and six months in prison for the charge of “gathering and collusion against national security”. It should be noted that she has had stomach disorders for a few years. Her anxiety attacks cause muscle contractions, which require urgent injections and oxygen therapy.

Saba Kord Afshari was arrested for the first time on 2 August 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 the Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court led by Judge Moghiseh. She was released on 14 February 2019 when Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pardoned a large number of prisoners in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

On 1 June 2019, Saba Kord Afshari’s mother, Raheleh Ahmadi, was summoned to the prosecutor’s office where she was threatened that they had an arrest warrant for her if she did not cease her activities, and that it could be used at any time. Raheleh Ahmadi was arrested on 10 July 2019 on the charges of “propaganda against the state”, “collaborating with opposition and subversive groups”, “promoting corruption and prostitution”. These charges were related to her publishing of information on social media about the arrest of her daughter. On 13 July 2019 she was released on bail of 700 million Toman [approx. 58 thousand dollars]. Ms. Raheleh Ahmadi appeared for her trial on 4 August 2019 in Branch 21 Revolutionary Court in Tehran which was led by Judge Haji Moradi. She defended her action by stating that she published information on her daughter’s case because Iranian Media and the Judiciary refused to take any action to help her daughter. She has yet to receive a verdict on her case and was told to register on the Justice Department online portal for her summons, where she will be given the date to appear in court for her verdict.

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Saba Kord Afshari’s Mother, Raheleh Ahmadi, Was Arrested

Raheleh Ahmadi, Saba Kord Afshari’s mother, was arrested by security forces on July 9, 2019. According to their family, she is arrested to put pressure on her detained daughter who has denied having a forced video confessions in the past few weeks. Ahmadi was taken to a court where her accusations were explained as “propaganda against the state”, “collaboration with foreign media”, and “encouraging corruption and prostitution”. She was then transferred to the Qarchak prison. However, as of now, her whereabouts are unknown.

Saba Kord Afshari, 22-year old former political prisoner and detained activist in Qarchak prison in Varamin was transferred to an unknown place ten days ago. According to her family, she has not had any contact with her family since her arrest and her whereabouts is still unknown.

Kord Afshari was arrested by security forces on June 1, 2019 at her home in Tehran and was transferred to Vozara detention Center. Her house was searched by security forces and some of her belongings such as her cell phone and her laptop were confiscated. She appeared in the Branch 21 Revolutionary Court in Tehran and her accusations were explained as “gathering and collusion against national security through collaborating with foreign media”, “propaganda against the state through collaborating with opposition and subversive groups”, “encouraging corruption and prostitution through appearing without a headscarf in public”. She was detained for a month of which she has to serve at least 10 days in solitary confinement.

Kord Afshari was arrested along 50 others during last July-August uprising protesting the current economic deterioration and corruption on August 2, 2018 and was transferred to Varamin’s Gharachak prison. She was later transferred to Evin prison’s Women’s Ward in October 2018 and was charged with “disrupting the public order” and was sentenced to one year in prison at the Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court led by Judge Moghiseh. She was released on February 14, 2019 when Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had pardoned a “large number” of prisoners in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

Saba Kord-Afshari was arrested

Saba Kord-Afshari, former political prisoner, was arrested at her home by security forces and was transferred to Vozara detention Center. Her house was searched by security forces and some of her belongings such as her cell phone and her laptop were confiscated. There has been no information on the reason of her arrested and the arresting authorities.

She was arrested along 50 others during last July-August uprising protesting the current economic deterioration and corruption on August 2, 2018 and was transferred to Varamin’s Gharachak prison. She was transferred to Evin prison’s women’s ward in October 2018 and was charged with “disrupting the public order” and was sentenced to one year in prison at the Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court led by Judge Moghiseh.