Who are the political prisoners highlighted in the ad in Ms. summer 2022?
Scroll down to see description for each, in order by last name.
Secretary General of Iran's Teachers' Trade Association (ITTA)
Both Younesi and Moradi, Olympiad astronomy students at Sharif University of Technology, were violently arrested in April 2020 at age 20 and forced under torture in harsh solitary confinement into on-camera confessions for state TV, which they later disavowed. Sentence upheld on appeal June 2022.
Arrested in mass protests of Nov 2019. When denied parole after first 20 months in prison, began hunger strike, May 2022
Born in Iran, Niloufar Bayani holds an MA in Conservation Biology from Columbia University and worked for the UN Environmental Programme. In 2017 she joined other wildlife conservationists in the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation to monitor the endangered Asian Cheetah. In 2018 she and 7 others in the group were arrested and charged with espionage.
Bayani was held incomunicado in solitary for 8 months in Evin Prison and interrogated for 1,200 hours. In an open letter to Supreme Leader Khameini, she details how interrogators threatened her with rape and death, threatened to torture and kill her parents, made her imitate the sounds of wild animals, stripped her and forced her to take part in their sexual games.
She was sentenced for "collaborating with the US enemy state" in a trial without proof or legal representation.
Shortly before her first arrest, Samin Ehsani helped a number of Afghan children who do not have access to education in Iran by holding classes for them. Organizing this educational activity was one of the charges against her.
Iranian Baha'is have been systematically persecuted as a matter of government policy. During the regime's first decade, more than 200 of Iran’s Baha'is were killed or executed. Hundreds more were tortured or imprisoned, and tens of thousands lost jobs, access to education, and other rights – all solely because of their religious belief.
Sepideh is a lifelong civil rights activist and writer who has been in and out of prison since she was 23 years old.
In 2018, she was arrested for solidarity with Haft-Tapeh workers' protests and charged with "Propaganda against the state; membership in organizations that aim to disrupt national security".
She was re-arrested in 2019 for denouncing torture and sexual abuse while in prison for participation in earlier public protests.
In March 2023, after her release, she famously shouted outside Evin Prison, "Khamenei, the Zahak! We will bury you!". Zahak was a mythological king with serpents growing out of his shoulders which he fed with young people's brains. Just four hours later, the car caravan of her family taking her home was stopped, and she was arrested.
She was accused of posting about and by implication planning to participate in protests which began in September 2022. Proof of "propaganda agaist the state" which the judge considered were her social media denunciation of the killing of minors during the protests.
Violently arrested at her home on September 26, 2022, Golrokh Iraee had only been out of prison since May 2022 after serving three years.
Previously, she was charged with "insulting the sacred" and "propaganda against the regime". The evidence: she wrote an unpublished story about stoning that was confiscated during a raid of her home by the Revolutionary Guards, aimed at her husband, human rights defender and former student activist Arash Sadeghi.
According to Amnesty International, Jalalian participated in social and political activities aimed at empowerment of women of the Kurdish minority and at Kurdish self-determination. She denies membership in the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, and the state presented no evidence of her participation in any "terrorist" actions at her 2008 trial, which lasted only a few minutes without the presence of a defense lawyer.
Following her arbitrary arrest in 2008, she was held in solitary confinement for 8 months; interrogators flogged the soles of her feet, punched her in the stomach, hit her head against a wall and threatened her with rape, in a failed effort to extract a "confession".
Four times between April and November 2020, the IRI has suddenly transferred her to different far-flung prisons. In June 2020, when she was diagnosed with COVID-19, interrogators from the ministry of intelligence told her that unless she makes videotaped “confessions” repenting and agrees to work with them, they will continue to deny her access to health care and keep her far from her family home.
Deputy Director of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, she is one of the most prominent Iranian human rights activists. She has been arrested repeatedly and sentenced heavily for objecting the death penalty and defending the rights of political prisoners. After serving 5 years of a 10-year sentence, she was subject to repeated harassment and assault, yet continued to protest defiantly and spearheading a major lawsuit against solitary confinement. In November 2021 she was rearrested in retaliation for her filing a complaint against the Evin Prison Director, who personally beat her in prison for organizing a nonviolent sit-in.
A labor rights activist who splits his time between England and Iran, Mehran was arrested in October 2020 during a wave of arbitrary detentions ahead of anniversary of 2019 uprising. He was held in solitary confinement without any contact with a lawyer or close family member for five months, until the eve of his first court appearance.
Arrested at Intl Workers Day rally, 2019. Editor-in-chief of Iran-e Farda (Tomorrow's Iran) current affairs magazine and banned daily paper Nameh (Letter); board member, Society in Defense of Press Freedom. Keyvan has been in and out of prison since before and after the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah.
A 66-year-old Iranian-German citizen, Nahid Taghavi is a retired architect and women’s rights activist who was arbitrarily arrested in October 2020 during a wave of detentions ahead of the anniversary of the November 2020 uprising. She spent 194 days in solitary confinement and was interrogated 80 times for a total of 1,000 hours, all without legal counsel or medical treatment for her diabetes and hypertension.
8 members of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation had been using cameras to track endangered species including the Asiatic cheetah and Persian leopard. The leader of the expedition died mysteriously in the first week of detention; Amnesty Intl said there is evidence all were subjected to torture