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.

Women’s Rights Activist Najmeh Vahedi Released On Bail

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- On November 6, 2018, women’s rights activist and sociology graduate Najmeh Vahedi, who was arrested in her home by security forces on September 1st, was released on bail pending trial.

Vahedi was one of many snared in the judiciary’s recently-revived sanctions on women’s rights activists. With her comrade Hoda Amid, Vahedi had reportedly held educational training workshops for women inquiring about their rights in marriage contracts.

Human Rights Watch issued a statement on September 5th of this year asking Iranian authorities to stop the repression of human rights defenders like Amid and Vahedi and to immediately release those who are in custody for peaceful expressions of dissent. Later that month, 750 civil rights activists inside and outside Iran issued a statement condemning the persecution of women’s rights defenders, demanding their immediate and unconditional release.

Last week, the voice of Amnesty International joined the outcry against the civil crackdowns, demanding that affected prisoners be immediately released and that defendants not be limited to a list of regime-designated attorneys.

Court Convenes on Recent Charges Against Leila Mir-Ghaffari

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court convened today, October 6th to read civil activist Leila Mir-Ghaffari her most recent charges: insulting the supreme leader and rebelling against authorities. Her attorney Mohammad Hossein Aghasi was present at the session, which was presided by Judge Ahmadzadeh.

Aghasi told HRANA that Mir-Ghaffari’s new charges are in connection to an altercation she had with security guards in front of the Revolutionary Court. “Ms. Mir-Ghaffari explained herself in court [today]. I was asked to have her defense submitted to the court within a week.”

Mir-Ghaffari was detained just three days earlier for defending a group known as the Girls of Enghelab Street who famously demonstrated against mandatory veiling for women. Morality Court ordered her to pay a fine of 3,200,000 tomans [approximately $800 USD], and she was released on bail the next day.

On June 13, 2018, Mir-Ghaffari was among a group of civil rights activists summoned to appeals court to review their charges of 91 days’ imprisonment and 74 lashes apiece. Judge Farshid Dehghani presided over their preliminary trial on February 9, 2016 in Tehran Criminal Court No. 2, Branch 1060.

Mir-Ghaffari and 17 other civil activists were arrested November 2016 for staging a peaceful gathering across from Evin Prison. Authorities sent the women protestors to Gharchak Prison and the men to Evin. Charged with disrupting the public peace, they were eventually released on bail of 50,000,000 tomans [approximately $12,000 USD]. Her co-arrestees were Reza Mak’iyan (Malak), Hashem Zaynali, Simin Ayvazzadeh, Ehsan Khaybar, Abdulazim Aruji, Mohsen Haseli, Mohsen Shojaie, Azam Najafi, Parvin Soleymani, Sharmin Yamani, Sala Saie, Arshiya Rahmati, Mas’ud Hamidi, Ali Babaie, Ismaeil Husayni, Farideh Tusi, and Zahra Mudarreszadeh.

Crackdown on Women’s Rights Activists Continues: Najmeh Vahedi held on ghost charges for 11 days running

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Since women’s rights activist Najmeh Vahedi was arrested 11 days ago, her family has been struggling to learn more about the reasons behind her arrest on September 1st.

In a brief interview with HRANA, Najmeh’s brother Reza said, “In a one-minute phone conversation with my sister on Tuesday September 4th, she was only able to tell us that she didn’t know her charges or why she had been arrested. We keep inquiring [with authorities], and are getting anxious because it’s been 11 days and we still don’t know what’s going on.”

Najmeh Vahedi earned a BS in sociology from Tehran Allameh University and an MS in sociology from Tehran Alzahra University. She is now in her third semester of Women’s Studies at Tehran Allameh Tabatabai University.

On September 3, 2018, HRANA published a report on the detention of this women’s rights activist by security forces at her home.

Over the past few weeks, civil rights activists–especially women’s rights activists–have been pursued by authorities with a renewed fervor. Women’s rights activist Rezvaneh Mohammadi and women’s rights activist and attorney Hoda Amid were among those detained recently.

Vahedi and Amid had reportedly held educational training workshops for women inquiring about their rights in marriage contracts. At the time of this report, no further information was available on their respective charges, nor on the conditions facing them in custody.

Human Rights Watch issued a statement on September 5th of this year asking Iranian authorities to stop the repression of human rights defenders like Amid and Vahedi and to immediately release those who are in custody for peaceful expressions of dissent.

Amnesty International also voiced their opposition to this civil crackdown last week, demanding that affected prisoners be immediately released and that defendants not be limited to a list of regime-designated attorneys.