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Mohammad Rasoulof, sentenced to prison and flogging, flees Iran

May 12, 2024

May 13, 2024 Breaking news: Mohammad Rasoulof has fled Iran on foot through its mountainous border region. From an as-yet undisclosed location in Europe, he issued a statement on the eve of the start of Cannes 2024 festival, excerpted below.

Drawing of Mohammad Rasoulof,

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I had to choose between prison and leaving Iran. With a heavy heart, I chose exile. The Islamic Republic confiscated my passport in September 2017. Therefore, I had to leave Iran secretly…
Right now as I'm writing this, the young rapper, Toomaj Salehi is held in prison and has been sentenced to death. The scope and intensity of repression has reached a point of brutality where people expect news of another heinous government crime every day...
Many of the actors and agents of the film are still in Iran and the intelligence system is pressuring them. They have been put through lengthy interrogations. The families of some of them were summoned and threatened. Due to their appearance in this movie, court cases were filed against them, and they were banned from leaving the country. They raided the office of the cinematographer, and all his work equipment was taken away. They also prevented the film's sound engineer from traveling to Canada. During the interrogations of the film crew, the intelligence forces asked them to pressure me to withdraw the film from the Cannes Festival...
Many people helped to make this film. My thoughts are with all of them, and I fear for their safety and well-being.

Full statement on Variety.


In 2020, Rasoulof was not allowed to attend the Berlinale Film Festival where his film There is No Evil (Satan does not exist) won the coveted Golden Bear. In the photo, his photo on a phone accepting the award

May 11, 2024: Just before the opening of Mohammad Rasoulof's latest film at the Cannes Film Festival, an appeals court in Iran confirmed his prior sentence to 8 years in prison, flogging, and the confiscation of his property. This was he refused to give in to heavy pressure from Iranian authorities to withdraw the film, Seed of the Sacred Fig, set to compete for the Palme d'Or, a family drama set in the Woman, Life, Freedom uprising in 2022.

Rasoulof's lawyer, Babak Paknia, announced on X, “The main reason for issuing this sentence is for signing statements and making films and documentaries. In the court’s opinion, these actions were examples of collusion with the intention of committing a crime against the country’s security.” published a statement from Tribeca Festival co-founders Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal:

“Mohammad Rasoulof’s courageous works have consistently sought to shine a light on societal issues, offering invaluable insights through a cinematic lens and underscores his unwavering commitment to the pursuit of truth and the promotion of human rights through artistic expression... Art is not a crime; it’s dialogue with humanity. Today, we stand in solidarity with Mohammad Rasoulof, echoing his courage and commitment to these truths.”

The Iranian Independent Filmmakers Association wrote in Instagram:

"Sentencing Mohammad Rasoulof to imprisonment, whipping and the confiscation of his property reveals the Islamic judicial system in Iran as a tool for seeking revenge on political dissidents. These unjust actions only serve as a reminder that authoritarianism often masks itself as a power but is ultimately driven by fear.

"The Islamic regime in Iran, facing failures both domestically and internationally, has attempted to assert its strength through brutal tactics such as the murder and sexual assault of protesting youth, detention of women who defy the mandatory Hijab law, and imposing economic hardships on the Iranians.

"Evidently, a regime that is structured based on the suffering of the people is destined to crumble soon.

IIFMA, along with freedom lovers worldwide, denounces the absurd sentencing of Mohammad Rasoulof and stand in solidarity with him and all artists who resist censorship, bravely challenging the regime’s legitimacy.”

14 Political Prisoners Condemn the Death Sentence of Toomaj Salehi

April 27, 2024
Image with Farsi slogan was posted on social media and news sites.

Female and male political prisoners in Evin prison overcame the segregation of their units and braved great risks to themselves by publishing the following letter against the execution sentence of beloved rebel rapper Toomaj Salehi. The English translation was posted by Narges.Foundation on April 27, 2024.

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Our silence today dictates the fate of each of us tomorrow.

The shameless issuance of a death sentence for Toomaj Salehi, a committed artist and human rights activist, using a notorious process in the courts of the regime, has once again exposed the anti-human nature and the depth of corruption of this government.

These days, the Islamic republic, intoxicated by the illusion of external authority, is desperate for internal power and spares no effort. On one hand, by deploying troops, it has turned the streets into a battleground against the women of Iran who seek freedom, and on the other hand, in its struggle to exact revenge on protesters and opponents, it lies in wait to crush the hopes of society.

In response to the most civil forms of struggle and even protests expressed through art, it reacts with utmost cruelty, demonstrating its power through inhuman sentences, long imprisonments, and exile, and “nooses ready for the neck,” against a defenseless people, warning the society that any protest, even non-violent and civil, awaits the claw of tyranny.

It seems intent on a vendetta against a society that has neutralized “victory through terror,” committed to eliminating all critics and opponents of the current situation, aiming to keep every concerned citizen in fear of government-organized repression and murder.

The message of the rulers regarding Toomaj’s verdict has reached us clearly! Beware, for the consequence of our silence today will be the decree of our future, where every voice will be stifled. Unaware that the end of this absolute corruption will be with the infinite power of the people’s resistance in these very occupied streets.

Golrokh Iraee, Hasti Amiri, Rasoul Badaghi, Mostafa Tajzadeh, Amirsalar Davoudi, Vida Rabbani, Hossein Razzaq, Reza Shahabi, Narges Mohammadi, Abdollah Momeni, Mohammad Najafi, Sedigheh Vasmaghi, Faezeh Hashemi, Maryam Yahyavi

Evin Prison
April 26, 2024

"The government must be held responsible for Sara's death": Cellmates in Evin

April 2, 2024

The government must be held responsible for Sara's death, previous cellmates of Sara Tabrizi said in a statement from Evin Prison, posted by @free.nahid and @narges_mohamadi_51

Sara Tabrizi, photo from social media
She was with us for a week. Her fears were not alien to us. She spoke about her lonely nights in solitary confinement and her terror of the interrogators’ threats becoming reality. She said after three nights alone in the cells of Ward 209 of the Ministry of Information, due to the intensity of her heartbeat and nervous attacks, she was transferred to the Prison Health Clinic and then to a communal cell after the doctor’s prescription.

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From the next day, she was under pressure in the interrogation room, warned that if she didn’t cooperate, she would be returned to previous conditions, solitary confinement. She didn’t know what cooperation meant. She only knew she didn’t want to become a captive by the delusions she was afflicted with.

Sara Tabrizi, a twenty-year-old girl with no experience facing such an environment, had intended to leave Iran for her dreams before she got involved with the security forces.

If Sarah had lived in a society free of suppression and discrimination, without the tyranny and exploitation of life, she wouldn’t have decided to leave the country nor would she have met such a bitter end.

After she was released on bail from prison, Sara understood the concept of cooperation. The repeated calls and interrogator’s insistence on what Sarah was not willing to give in to. And then the threats to re-arrest and the disclosure of her private information.

On March 23, Sara [was contacted by] the Tehran [police] department and the day after that, she was [found dead at home].

Regardless of the circumstances under which it occurred, the responsibility for this death lies with the government.

Like the deaths of thousands who have disappeared under the control of governments, under decades of fascist dictatorship, vanished without a trace.

Like many who have lost their eyes or have been physically disabled in some way.

Like many of our children who, for greater security or to achieve their dreams, have been forced to leave their homeland.

And like many who have been imprisoned for years and their homes’ lights have gone out.

Although the government will not be held accountable and will try to evade responsibility with another trick if necessary, the responsibility for this crime, like those committed before, will be on its shoulders and and will one day be held accountable before the people.


Narges Mohammadi
Nahid Taqhavi
Anisha Asadollahi
epideh Gholian
Reihaneh Ansari Nejad
Mahbooubeh Rezaei
Mariam Haj Hosseini
Golrokh Iraee

@golrokh.iraee @free.nahid @anishaasadollahi @sepide_qoliyan  #saratabrizi

Evin Women Sit In to Support Narges Mohammadi; Nahid Taghavi Sent Back to Evin

March 3, 2024

In the days before elections in Iran on March 1, for which the ruling theocrats desperately tried to drum up participation, the regime took several vengeful steps against political prisoners. They denied 2023 Nobel Prize winner Narges Mohammadi’s request to attend her father’s funeral, sparking protest in Evin Prison and outrage beyond. And they suddenly terminated Nahid Taghavi’s medical furlough, and returned her back to prison.

On February 29, female political prisoners staged a sit-in protest according to an Akhbar Rooz newspaper report[i]. Described in the social media of Golrokh Iraee, imprisoned along with Narges Mohammadi in the political prisoners’ women’s ward,, women prisoners “fortified” the ward and sang protest anthems to demand that the prison grant Narges leave to attend her father’s services that were held that same day[ii]:

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[Sitting in] in Evin Prison Women's ward they sang the anthem  [“Blood of the Purple Tulip”] in protest against the refusal to allow Narges Mohammadi to be present at her father's funeral...
Narges Mohammadi has not been able to contact her family by phone since November 29 [2023].
It is the most basic human and legal right of all prisoners to be able to be with their family and other relatives to endure such a loss.
Karim Mohammadi, the father of Nargis Mohammadi, died on [February 27] without even hearing his daughter's voice for 3 months and without seeing her for 22 months.

Sixty women in Evin signed a statement of condolence and support which noted that “Mr. Karim Mohammadi, a man of honor, spent his later years while his daughter, Narges, endured years of separation from her children in government prisons. Despite never seeing Narges and being deprived of her voice in his last months, he consistently encouraged her to stand against injustice. On February 25th, 2024, at age ninety-two, he joined the hunger strike in Evin Prison protesting the execution of young people.”

Nahid Taghavi Ordered Back to Evin

Mariam Claren, daughter of political prisoner Nahid Taghavi, announced via social media and press interviews on February 29:

Randomly and for no apparent reason my 69-year-old mother Nahid Taghavi was forced to return to Evin Prison last night.
She was released on January 9 with an electronic ankle [bracelet] due to health reasons. Necessary medical care was hardly possible during this time, as her freedom of movement was limited to 1,000 meters from her apartment. In addition, she had developed a painful eye disease in the last weeks, which needs to be strictly monitored by doctors. Nahid Taghavi suffers from severe joint pain, herniated discs, hypertension and diabetes.
The Islamic Republic of Iran and its judicial system are responsible for everything that happens to my mother.”

Mariam Claren’s post ends with this urgent call, which we echo wholeheartedly:

I ask all freedom loving people to be the voice of my mother and all political prisoners.
#FreeNahid #cuttherope

[i]News Bulletin: Female political prisoners staged a sit-in in support of Narges Mohammadi”, Akhbar Rooz (in Farsi), February 29, 2024.

[ii] Translation to English by IEC volunteers.

Prior Prisoner News

Toomaj Message From Behind Bars

February 14, 2024

reposted from @burnthecage, @toomajofficial - translated by IEC volunteers

Hope you're doin' ok!

Thank you for still supporting me, like you have from the first days (and hopefully not forgetting all the other loved ones in prison).

In here, I am still getting the news channels, and sometimes even reading your tweets. Nothing can disconnect us -- because our hearts remain connected.

~ Toomaj
February 14, 2024 (25 Bahman 1402)
Isfahan Prison

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Political Prisoner Nahid Taghavi Released on Furlough

January 11, 2024
Left: The majestic cedar tree signifies endurance in tumultuous times. Right: Photo of Nahid Taghavi posted by @free.nahid, cropped

With joy, we share the announcement of the temporary release on furlough of political prisoner and women’s rights activist Nahid Taghavi, a German-Iranian dual citizen, posted by her daughter Mariam Claren:

“I am pleased to announce that my mother Nahid Taghavi has been temporarily released on furlough.

“Unfortunately, Nahid has to wear an electronic anklet during the furlough. Nahid’s freedom of movement is restricted to 1000 meters around her apartment in Tehran. This makes her release more comparable to house arrest. However, we hope that this furlough is an important first step towards her unconditional release.

“We would like to thank everyone who works tirelessly for Nahid and the release of all political prisoners.”

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Nahid Taghavi was arrested in a raid on her Tehran apartment in October 2020 during a sweep of arrests of political dissidents by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). After enduring more than seven months of solitary confinement and over 1,000 hours of interrogation, she was charged in a group trial in August 2021 in a kangaroo court, where her lawyer barely had a chance to review their multiple cases.

Her codefendants included British-Iranian dual citizen Mehran Raouf, Somayeh Kargar, and several others. Both Nahid and Mehran were sentenced to over 10 years. They should have been eligible for release after serving one-third of their sentences or in the “amnesty” after prisons overflowed with protesters from the Woman-Life-Freedom uprising. Of the multiple codefendants in this trial, only Mehran remains in prison.

Somayeh Kargar greeted the news with this joyful and poetic post, translated by IEC volunteers:

Nahid has arrived! This 70-year-old communist cedar* has arrived with head held high. Nahid is the ambassador of emancipation. Neither walls nor ankle monitors are strong enough to keep emancipation in chains. My dear Nahid, welcome! Our battle continues!

[*Translator’s note: The tall, majestic cedar tree signifies strength and endurance in tumultuous times].

In July 2022, Nahid was granted a medical furlough to deal with severe and dangerous spinal problems. However, before her treatment was completed, her furlough was abruptly cancelled, and she was ordered back to Evin Prison in November 2022. Since then, she has suffered severe and chronic pain, for which the prison authorities refused her the treatment the doctors deemed needed. This furlough is medically necessary to enable her to get this urgent treatment, but her release should be permanent and unconditional, as she should never have been arrested or charged to begin with.

An important part of why Nahid and all political prisoners in Iran must be urgently freed is that they are needed out in society and on the streets to provide direction on how to move forward the struggle of the people for justice and liberation. For example, the uplifting effect Nahid has on those around her stands out in this tribute to her posted by an ex-political prisoner and women’s ward mate, Hasti Amiri in 2022, translated by IEC volunteers:

You were like a teacher to me, being involved in years of struggle. You had stood up against dictatorship for years. You had fought to achieve your goals. You were not like those whose beliefs wavered with a gust of the wind in media. You were the one who had fought and is still fighting for equality, for liberation and for breaking up our chains. Every day you were more resolute than before. Your presence in prison elevated so much the quality of our days. We were singing Bella Ciao in Persian. Now when I close my eyes and reminisce about the time you were singing Bella Ciao in Italian in open air prison yard, my heart wants to fly to you.

For our part, the IEC will continue in this political struggle with our understanding that (from our Emergency Appeal):

The governments of the U.S. and Iran act from their national interests. And, in this instance, we the people of the U.S. and Iran, along with the people of the world, have OUR shared interests, as part of getting to a better world: to unite to defend the political prisoners of Iran. In the U.S., we have a special responsibility to unite very broadly against this vile repression by the IRI, and to actively oppose any war moves by the U.S. government that would bring even more unbearable suffering to the people of Iran.

We demand of the Islamic Republic of Iran: FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!



Narges Mohammadi Joins Prisoner Hunger Strike on Day of Nobel Prize Ceremony

December 10, 2023
Graphic in composite posted on IG by @AzadMahii

Today, December 10, International Human Rights Day, Narges Mohammadi joined the hunger strike of two women of the outlawed Baha’I religion in Evin Prison. As is so often the case, Narges’ statement on Instagram does not mention her prize or the pain of separation from her family, but rather than situation of others in Iran:

“International Human Rights Day… Few are the days that we do not hear the news of the execution of our countrymen in different cities. Fewer are the days that we do not hear the cries of mothers and fathers of justice, prisoners, arrested, tortured, imprisoned in solitary cells of security forces, the oppressed and the oppressed women. Of course, fewer are the days that the cries of freedom and justice, resistance and civil struggles of the people will not be heard in this vast land…

“In such a situation, the repression and the acts of the government's angry practices against the Baha'i community have intensified. Inevitably, two of the Baha'i oppressed women have started a three-day hunger strike after 10 years in prison and facing another 10 years in prison, protesting Iran's Baha'i civil rights violation.”

Her husband, activist Taghi Rahmani, reported, "She said, 'I will start my hunger strike on the day that I am being granted this prize, perhaps then the world will hear more about it'."

Meanwhile, members of the family of Jina Mahsa Amini (whose death in custody of morality police sparked the 5-month Woman, Life, Freedom uprising) were stopped by the government officials as they were to board a plane to France to receive the Sakharov Prize, Europe’s top human rights award, on her behalf. Their passports were confiscated in spite of having a valid visa to travel.

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Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now! Defend the Life of Precious People’s Artist: Rapper Toomaj Salehi

December 10, 2023

Lovers of justice and revolutionary art: Toomaj is talking to you.  Make a difference and prevent his voice from being silenced by Iran’s theocrats. Toomaj endured repeated arrests, months of interrogation, torture, and solitary confinement.  In August, he received a six-year sentence for “corruption on earth,” a charge that can carry the death penalty in Iran. He was released for 12 days and rearrested after posting the heartening and heartbreaking video excerpted above. Like so many other political prisoners in Iran such as Nobel Prize winner Narges Mohammadi, he is refusing to give in and give up.

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This should inspire and challenge us all to have their back and follow their example to fight for a better world. This is a critical moment for such bravery in today’s world and as Iran’s reactionary regime is ramping up executions, targeting many political prisoners.  This is an urgent call to poets, rappers, artists, writers and musicians to come together to defend the life of Toomaj Salehi, to demand his immediate release from prison, and the release of all the courageous political prisoners in Iran.

Toomaj is a people’s artist beloved by millions in Iran and worldwide – because he stands up for and with the people.  He has taken an art form that he is said to have described as a “voice from the bottom of society,” and made it his own, carrying forward its spirit of “fight the power”.  He sings to us in Farsi but his fiery lyrical poetry and raw emotions transcend the borders of geography and language. The resistance against oppression and hope for a better world comes through a pulsing beat that is the joy of rap music.  

Aren’t we all sick to death of the vacant or putrid culture that degrades women, worships bling-bling, money, self, xenophobia, theism and other slavish nonsense? Shouldn’t we fight for something liberating such as to free an artist who is the opposite of all that? And one who is courageously putting his life on the line for something bigger than himself?!

He is hated by misogynist mullahs ruling Iran for good reason.  He serenades the fight against the vile oppression of women, took part in the Women-Life-Freedom uprising in his art and his activism, concentrated in the battle over the forced hijab in Iran. He calls for unity of the ordinary people against the injustices visited upon the world’s nobodies whose lives are treated as “not worth the bullet that kills them” such as in the US-backed Israeli rain of death genocide in Gaza.

We are calling for a flowering of grassroots cultural activities to celebrate Toomaj’s inspiring music and example. We call on all touched by learning of his stand to FIND WAYS to express your rage against the ruthless persecution of this true people’s artist. Have a holiday house party and play/dance to his rap songs. Ask local bookstores to screen his many (English) captioned videos (see #FreeToomaj Resources page). Find a local music store to display videos of Toomaj in their stores. Find an art gallery to display posters of Iran’s political prisoners, of Toomaj, Narges and many others. Download the one page flyer from IEC website and pass it out (or post) at school, church, protests, community center, stores, cafes, and just everywhere. Take a picture of any of these actions and put it out on your social media and send it to the IEC to spread. Write us with your ideas and questions.

Make a year-end gift to the IEC to push this crucial struggle into the public square in 2024.

"Thank you for your spirit of support, not just of me but of whomever needed support"

November 29, 2023

In a 15-minute informal video on his YouTube, Toomaj speaks from the heart, thanking his supporters and responding to pro-regime slanders. To make this accessible to English-speakers supporters, IEC volunteers have excerpted key sections below and translated to English. The full version is available at the link at the end of the excerpt.

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Hello, my friends, greetings with hope that all is well. Today is November 27, 2023…

First and foremost, I want to thank you because of your spirit of being supportive, not just of me but of whomever needed support. You did not deny them in this process and showed your unity, solidarity, such that I had never experienced in the past, because you did not get tired… You did not forget those who are still in prison…

Even when I was in captivity at the security section, where it is almost impossible to talk to your relatives, because visits are very short and the guards are right next to you, where you cannot talk about whatever you want to talk about, even there a little news of the support you are giving to me and others was very, very welcoming and heartening news, and was giving us a new energy. Otherwise, it would have been impossible to endure these psychological injuries …

First you saved my life, and in the previous arrest you saved me, this is the third time that you rescued me. On social media they call me a hero, but the hero is all of you who saved me and us, I have never rescued anyone.

Now that they could not hold me in prison, as in previous times they try to destroy my reputation through some accusations…that I have confessed and betrayed others. First and foremost, what is there to confess, whatever I have done is in…broadcasting my songs and words, there has been nothing there to hide. I did not come out with a rap [song] to accommodate them; none of the people who have helped me with the production of my raps have been arrested or had to endure hardship, whether the producer, musicians, distributors and promoters.

I have been tortured through my arrest, they broke my hands and leg. They were hitting my face and my head and in the process of protecting my head with my hands they broke my fingers… Some of the political prisoners told me what they injected to your neck was adrenaline to keep you conscious in order to feel the pain to its extreme, and even more, rather than becoming numb or losing consciousness, and not feeling the pain.

And about confession? I didn't even give them access to my post/page… The last day [before his release] they took me to Mr. Barati for 4 or 5 hours… he was the one in charge, who ordered to apply torture to me. He wanted me to give them my page [i.e., access to Toomaj’s social media platforms]. I told them I would rather stay in jail than give you control of my page.

Oh, yeah, there are some who are concerned or suspicious that I am healthy, but if I was released 4 or 5 months after my arrest, they would not have said these things for sure.  They would have witnessed these broken bones of mine, now more than a year old and naturally most of those bones have healed even though some are not healed properly. There is not much pain but after walking for a while it becomes painful, and my hands when I exercise are painful… in order to continue my sport, boxing, I need to do some surgery on my leg and my hands…

I wanted to say something about a montage video of me that is being distributed and was [created] by security apparatus… In the 9 hours that they were interviewing me [they spliced out] something like a question they asked that if it was someone's mother to whom you caused problems for their kids, or he is in prison because of you, what do you have to say? Most likely I would have said I apologize for their pain that I caused, but they have pretended that and made it [appear] that I am apologizing for what I have done to them, the state…

[In] their media they have spread lies about me. That Toomaj was sentenced to death but because he has cooperated effectively, his execution has been reduced to 6 years.What have I done that warranted execution? All we have done in that time was standing up against those who were shooting at people with Winchesters, and torturing people in universities…

I am indebted to you all, and when the time comes, I will be in control of my page, and be active. But for now, I want to build myself up [i.e., his strength], and think I need that, and I hope you give me that time, and space to do that.

Thanks again.

The full transcript translation is available here.

Letter from 9 political prisoners: “Our Responsibility Concerning the Suffering of Others”

November 26, 2023

The following letter from 9 prisoners at the notorious Evin Prison in Iran has been circulating widely on social media since its release, including by the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) Burn the Cage/Free the Birds movement in Europe, and the IEC. It is translated from Farsi by IEC volunteers. Some minor edits, bracketed words and footnotes are by translators for clarity. The full text was published on the official Telegram channel of the Syndicate of Workers at Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (

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Here in prison, among political prisoners, there are some who risked their lives last year to demand freedom and an end to discrimination. But now, in the face of the genocide of Palestinians in a completely unjust war by the Israeli government, they say [things like]: “I wish [Israel] would kill more of them,” and “Hopefully [Israel] will finish them off with an atomic bomb, so the world can breathe a sigh of relief.” Some are even saying: “I hope they hit head of the snake in Tehran, as well.” How pitiful for those fighting their own imprisonment to end up fighting for their own destruction.1

War is a blessing to reactionary rulers. Just as the 8-year Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s helped stabilize [Iran’s] government and paved the way for executing thousands of political prisoners. This regime, which murdered thousands of children and teenagers in previous years and last year [during the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement], is now trying to hide its reactionary nature by posing as the defender of the Palestinian people.

If this war widens, it could give [the regime] a pretext to use even more violence to suppress protesters, political prisoners, workers’ movements, women, students, religious minorities such as the Bahá’í community, and even to extend their attacks against the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement.

In addition to the ruling regime, there have always been extreme right-wing [fascist] movements that want to use military attacks and bombardment to “export democracy” [into Iran]. These people are mainly looking to get a share [of the spoils] after the infrastructure of society has been destroyed by a military attack of the West — as though they learned nothing from the experience of the last two decades in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the height of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement, these people pinned their hopes on getting support from Israel and the West, and are trying to placate them in the current war.

But indifference towards the war and genocide in Palestine —and perhaps wishing for a military attack on Iran— is far more widespread than just among these extremist forces.

Our message is this:

We simply cannot cover over this complex and unequal war being waged against the Palestinian people, with the justification of our resentment against the government [of Iran] and its destructive policies and wars [in the region]. We cannot close our eyes to what is genocide, in the full sense of the word: “the intention to completely or partially annihilate a national, an ethnic, a racial or a religious group, simply because of their very nature.” Nor can it get glossed over by [the propaganda of] the media-monopoly.

The dichotomy presented to us —Hamas or Israel, military intervention or the current situation going on and on— offer only a choice between bad and worse. As long as we look only at options the rulers give us, rather than creating our own way forward, the result can only be bad or worse.

The reality is that we [in Iran] have had a weak history of anti-war protest movements. Although egalitarian trends and movements with slogans like “Bread, Work, Freedom” have taken clear anti-war positions, we have not been able to connect the struggle against oppression, exploitation and discrimination with the fight against war and warmongering.

In previous years, the slogan “No Gaza, No Lebanon" was heard from some forces2. These people had concluded that their own state of misery resulted from the government’s [spending resources] on interventions in the region. But in fact, the [regime] funded these interventions to prop up these reactionary regimes in the region only to stabilize and maintain its own interests, not to benefit the people in these countries that they interfere with or dominate. Consequently, these interventions have reduced the rich history of social and political struggle by the masses of people in Palestine to some rocket-throwing by Hamas, and the part played by other Palestinian progressive popular forces has been downplayed or erased.

But this reactionary shell has incubated a monster within it, the monster of indifference to other people's suffering — as if war-mongering and slaughtering are only bad when the bombs fall on me [with thinking of]: “I don't care what happens to Gaza!” “I don't care what is happening to Baluchistan and Kurdistan!” “Whatever happens to the immigrants from Afghanistan, to women, to workers and the semi-unemployed, to the people who live in the slums and shanty towns!... I only protest when I and people in my own circle get attacked.”

This monster will be the Achilles heel of our revolutionary movement. In a land with a multitude of languages, religions, all kinds of fault lines, a convergence of oppressions, and in close connection with other laboring and oppressed people in the region, an indifference to the suffering of others will strengthen the dominance of [reactionary] ruling forces and become an obstacle to any possibility of change [for a better world].

Currently, this monster's most powerful enemy is the public awareness and determination of the people in the Middle East, manifested in the “Woman, Life, Freedom” slogan, interpreted to encompass supporting human dignity and combating discrimination and apartheid in any form.

By relying on this slogan, we can combat religious fundamentalism in whatever form, be it Hamas or Israel. We can define the lines of demarcation in such a way that both Hamas and Israel, along with the imperialist forces supporting them are on one side, with the progressive social, labor, women’s movements … and the fight for freedom and equality on the other side.

Governments are indifferent to the suffering of the people, and wars can divert and become an obstacle to popular and revolutionary movements. Therefore, our approach is to actively bring forward an antiwar wing in the heart of the “Woman, Life, Freedom" revolutionary movement — while simultaneously condemning Israel's genocide and dehumanization of the Palestinian people, condemning the reactionary nature of Hamas and how it treats these very same people [as tools to achieve its goals], condemning the regional governments that support [Hamas], and condemning the imperialist sponsors that benefit from this brutal war.

Historically, the transformation of reactionary wars into a fight of the oppressed masses against the ruling classes under the slogan “bread, peace, freedom” has been effective, yielding positive outcomes. This [present] historical moment will test whether the progressive movement for “Woman, Life, Freedom” will align itself with the struggle against discrimination and otherization or become a [mere] footnote to history.

Signed by,

Anisha Asadollahi
Golrokh Iraee
Reza Shahabi
Arash Johari
Keyvan Mohtadi
Mehran Raouf
Fouad Fathi
Mazyar Seyednejad
Omid Masyer

Evin prison, November 2023


1 This letter is sharply struggling against a harmful, narrow, and nationalist view in Iran towards the Palestinian people in these comments they cite by some other political prisoners who had stood up against Iran’s theocratic regime during the “Women, Life, Freedom” uprising, but now are supporting genocide in Gaza by standing with Israel/US even in wishing Iran and its capital Tehran would get attacked, even nuked, which is against their own interest and that of humanity as a whole.

2This narrow/selfish outlook of “my nation first” or “me first” is expressed in “I will only sacrifice for Iran”, i.e. not for people in Gaza or Lebanon.

Breaking news: Iranian Rebel Rapper Toomaj Salehi Released on Bail!

November 18, 2023
Photo @ToomajOfficial

On November 18, Toomaj Salehi walked out of Isfahan Prison holding a bouquet of white roses, after 386 days of detention, of which 252 days were in solitary confinement under horrific conditions of torture and isolation.

His first words were, "I thought the saddest situation was being alone under the tortures of time, now I understand that being released alone (when others are still detained) is even more bitter," according to his official X and IG accounts.

His lawyer, Amir Raesian, told Shargh Daily news that Toomaj was released on bail, pursuant to an appeal of his unjust conviction and sentencing to 6 years in prison, due to a Supreme Court finding of "flaws in the initial sentence". He also said that Toomaj should qualify for amnesty. This refers to a program by Iran’s regime of a politically-motivated and limited amnesty offered to thousands of those arrested during months-long protests of the Woman-Life-Freedom uprising in Fall 2022.  On Toomaj’s behalf, Amir Raesian had also filed a suit against the regime for illegal detention of Toomaj on October 30, 2022, torture resulting in a broken leg, finger, fractured ribs, and severe damage to both eyes, and denial of timely treatment for his injuries, including surgery, deemed currently necessary, to correct his broken leg.

The IEC expresses heartfelt solidarity with Toomaj, his family and ardent supporters.  We want to echo the words of @FreeToomajNow, social media account of the International Campaign to Free Toomaj Salehi:

#ToomajSalehi, the artist, fighter, and popular figure, is free!
‎Congratulations to dear Toomaj for his resistance; congratulations to his resilient and unwavering family; congratulations to his legal team; and congratulations to the larger Toomaj family, meaning all the fighters and free individuals who worked for his freedom and that of other political prisoners. The struggle continues for the elimination of oppression, discrimination, suppression, and exploitation; the fight continues for the establishment of freedom and equality!

Stay tuned to the IEC website and social media (@IranPrisonEmerg) for more news and analysis of this important turn of events. For background on Toomaj, including a playlist of English subtitled music videos to share, see our #FreeToomaj Resources.

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Evin Prison Refuses Medical Treatment to Narges Mohammadi: "Forced hijab or death"

November 2, 2023
Slide from Narges Mohammadi IG

Family members of Narges Mohammadi report that Evin Prison authorities have refused to transfer her to a hospital or even the prison infirmary without a headscarf, according to the orders of the higher authorities.

A medical team which came to Evin to examine Ms. Mohammadi carried out an echocardiogram scan which showed two veins with severe blockages and high lung pressure, with a coronary angiogram and lung scan urgently needed.

"She is willing to risk her life by not wearing the 'forced hijab', even for medical treatment," the family said.

Two days and nights, a group of women in Evin protested in the prison yard to send Narges Mohammadi to the heart hospital.

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Winning the Nobel Peace Prize Will Shine Even More Light - Letter from 22 Fellow Prisoners of Narges Mohammadi

October 8, 2023
Photo: Golrokh Iraee and Narges Mohammadi I

Letter from 22 fellow women political prisoners of Narges Mohammadi in Evin Prison, Tehran, Iran -- October 7, 2023

Posted by Narges Mohammadi and Golrokh Iraee; Translation to English by IEC Volunteers

Narges Mohammadi, our fellow prisoner, friend, comrade, and sister, has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

On hearing this news, we the sisters of Narges, who have witnessed her years of dedicated struggle and perseverance on the path of freedom and equality, are filled with pride and overflowing joy!  

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Congratulations to Narges, her family, Ali and Kiana — and congratulations to all of us!  While no single award can encompass the full political and social impact of Narges -- nor that of any other fighter for the path of freedom and equality —this Nobel Peace Prize acknowledges Narges’ years of activism to advance the cause of freedom and equality, broadcasting the voices of the Iranian people to the world and shining a light on their struggles for justice and human rights.

Narges, who has selflessly put every effort into exposing the systematic violation of human rights in Iran, now shoulders a very heavy responsibility —  a responsibility to not only defend human rights today, but to advance the path of change in Iranian society that can bring that about.

Throughout history, the shining color of prizes and medals has come from being awarded to activists and fighters against oppression and discrimination. Today, on the first year anniversary of Jina (Mahsa Amini) movement, we take pride in our sister and fellow fighter, Narges, who infuses the Nobel Peace Prize with color. The red of the blood that has been spilled in the struggle for justice, and the pain of grieving mothers is etched into the medal for the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize.

Long Live Solidarity for Freedom and Equality!


Nahid Taghavi
Sepideh Qolian
Golrokh Iraee
Sepideh Kashani
Zahra Tohidi
Hoda Tohidi
Faezeh Hashemi
Bahareh Hedayat
Mahvash Sabet
Fariba Kamalabadi
Zohreh Sarv
Shakila Monfared
Mahboubeh Rezael
Niloufar Hamedi
Nasrin Javadi
Anisha Asadollahi
Niloufar Bayani
Elaheh Mohammadi
Sepideh Keshavarz
Maryam Hajihosseini
Sarvenaz Ahmadi
Mahvash Edalati

Evin Prison Women's Ward #FreeNarges #FreeThemAll #NobelPeacePrize

Medical Release Now for Nahid Taghavi! Prison Doctors Use Excessive Oral Cortisone, Try to Force Psychiatric Drugs

September 20, 2023

In recent interview by Agence France-Presse, Narges Mohammadi calls attention to critical situation of her Evin wardmate NahidTaghavi.

As summarized in Instagram posts by @free.nahid and @duzentekkal:

"These days I see Nahid Taghavi being given repeatedly cortizone ampoules to relieve her pain. But she would actually have to be injected directly. A prison doctor has expressed concerns and explained that the ongoing situation could lead to calcium deficiency and serious disturbances in the immune system.

"Despite her claim for conditional release and detention according to Iranian laws, she is still imprisoned. The pointless doctor's visits only to deceive international organizations or delaying injections into joints by 2-3 months has led to a worsening of her illness and physical weakness. These doctor visits are carried out in a hospital that is contractual to the prison and whose doctors are not independent... In a recent alarming incident, a hospital doctor insisted on trying to administer psychiatric drugs to Nahid against her strong objections.”

As a follow-up to this report from Narges, the IEC has determined that Nahid Taghavi did refuse the psychiatric drugs, and they were not administered.

As world-renowned writer Ariel Dorfman stated in June 2023, in response to news about Nahid's joint pain becoming severe:

"... Evin Prison, in the northern hills of Teheran: it is notoriously filled with thousands of patriots whose only crime is to have spoken against the current regime. Among those political prisoners is Nahid Taghavi who has been detained there since October 2020. Despite being critically ill, the authorities have refused to give her medical leave so her life can be saved.... A first gesture would be to allow Nahid Taghavi to receive the medical aid she desperately needs. But that measure should be followed by the freeing of all political prisoners held in so many prisons in Iran."

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Women Prisoners Burn Headscarves in Evin Prison Courtyard

September 18, 2023
Graphic: Narges Mohamadi Media

On September 16, the first anniversary of the murder of Jina Mahsa Amini and the start of the Woman-Life-Freedom uprising, four women political prisoners in Evin Prison burned their head scarves in the Women’s Ward courtyard where a number of them have been on a sit-down strike since September 15, at great personal risk. Below is their statement, posted on the Instagram account of prominent political prisoner Narges Mohammadi, followed by a listing of other prisoner actions.

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One year has passed since the tragic death of Iran’s daughter, Mahsa Amini (Jina), at the hands of the agents of the Islamic Republic government.
The bitterness of the unjust killings and executions of our innocent daughters and sons in our streets and prisons, the blinding of protesters, detention, torture, and imprisonment of the rising generation has wounded our souls and bodies.
However, it has ignited a flame of hope and motivation for the continuation of our struggle until victory. We, the women political prisoners of Evin, stand alongside all freedom seekers and equality advocates around the world, supporting the people of Iran and protesting the violent, repressive and ruthless policies of the dictatorial religious government.
Starting from September 15, we will be taking refuge in the courtyard of the women's ward in Evin Prison raising our voices alongside the people of Iran.
We call upon the people of Iran and the world to be the voice of protesters and dissenters and support us.


Some of the other significant actions by prisoners in Iran to mark this day:

  • According to Kurdistan Human Rights Network, female prisoners in Varamin protested on the occasion of the anniversary of the government murder of Zina Mahsa Amini. According to an informed source, the forces of the special prison unit entered the protestors' cell to suppress these protests and severely beat the prisoners and shot a number of protesters.
  • At least 20 women prisoners were reportedly injured after a fire broke out in the Qarchak prison for women, and security forces were rushed in to quell a protest, firing pellets and beating the women, according to Center for Human Rights in Iran.
  • Male prisoners of conscience announced their hunger strike “to show solidarity with all non-violent activists for an independent, free, and developed Iran without any discrimination.” The prominent activists include Mohammad Najafi, Mostafa Tajzadeh, Saeid Madani, and Mehdi Mahmoudian. Also, imprisoned Sharif University students Ali Younesi and Amirhossein Moradi went on hunger strike on Sept 13 until the uprising’s anniversary.

Sepideh Gholian spits in the face of pig interrogator, sentenced to 15 months more

September 10, 2023
Ameneh Sadat Zabihpour, Photo Wikidata; Sepideh Gholian, Photo Mehdi_Gholiyan

Two women confronted each other in court in Tehran, Iran, on August 22, 2023: one the epitome of the Islamic Republic’s hijab-enforcers and torturers who aim to drag women into a medieval past, the other a shining example of the fearless women of the future. One of them walked out with spit on her face.

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When Sepideh Gholian (Qolian), then a journalist/activist just 23 years old, was arrested in 2018 along with striking workers from the Haft Teppeh sugarcane conglomerate, she and fellow detainees were subjected to torture in solitary confinement and forced to confess to “collusion and propaganda to act against national security” and other charges. Their forced confessions were broadcast on state-sponsored TV. When Sepideh renounced this confession in court, she pointed to the role of supposed “TV reporter” Ameneh Sadat Zabihpour[i], who participated in the interrogations and handed Sepideh the statement that she was forced to read on camera.

Zabihpour filed a suit against Sepideh for defamation (for exposing her true role as pro-regime pig) and added charges of “espionage” and “incitement”. On August 22, 2023, this case went to court in a session which was private because Sepideh refused to wear a hijab (headscarf) in court.

Sepideh’s defense was typical of her bravery and rebelliousness. She “said her presence in court was not strictly for self-defense but to stand up for what the people have achieved through their movement.” She “mentioned honorable journalists such as Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi (arrested for reporting on Mahsa Jina Amini’s death), whom Ms. Zabihpour also called spies of Israel and the United States.” Finally, Sepideh “spit in her face at the end of the trial and, in her own words, spit on her ‘on behalf of the people’”.[ii]

The judge convicted Sepideh and sentenced her to another 15 months in prison, on top of the two years she is currently serving since March for “insulting the Supreme Leader”. See IEC’s #FreeSepideh Resource page.

[i] Zabihpour leads the Political and Security reporting at IRIB and has produced scurrilous “documentary exposés” against activists, including at Haft Teppeh. Faces of Crime, updated January 4, 2021.

[ii] Description of Sepideh’s defense and actions during the trial is from her brother’s Instagram, translated from Farsi by IEC volunteers.

"I have lived my life to the sound of your voice": Poem from Sepideh Gholian to Mehdi Yarrahi

September 1, 2023
"You Are the Voice of the People!" Left: Yarrahi in concert. Right: Gholian hijab-less after her release from prison in March 2023; she was re-arrested hours later. Posted on Burn The Cage

From inside Iran's Evin Prison, Sepideh Gholian (Qolian) wrote a poem to the renowned singer/composer Mehdi Yarrahi, who was arrested by the Islamic Republic of Iran on August 27 after the release of his song “Roosarito”, Your Head Scarf, “dedicated to the noble women of my homeland, who bravely shine in the front lines of the Woman, Life, Freedom” movement”.

Like Sepideh Gholian, Mehdi Yarrahi is from the province of Khuzestan bordering Iraq, an oil-rich but environmentally devastated region. In addition, Yarrahi is an ethnic Arab, an oppressed nationality. He has been banned from performing multiple times, due to his daring protest lyrics, but has never backed down or fled the country.

The following excerpt of Sepideh's poem was posted on Burn The Cage and translated to English by IEC volunteers.

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I have lived my life to the sound of your voice, #Mehdi_Yarrahi.

You could have sided with the powers that be, been an ambassador for the ruling class,
gone on European tours, given dazzling performances, feasted at banquets, led a colorful life.
But you decided to stand on the other side 'though you knew it could cost you.
You became the voice of an Arab woman in Khuzestan,
the voice of Sepideh Rashnou, who resisted the forced hijab,
the voice of Toomaj, of workers, prisoners,
and of all those who are born in poverty and pain.

I have lived my life to the sound of your voice, #Mehdi_Yarrahi.

I have walked all of Khuzestan, which is my soul, to the sound of your voice
During the floods and in Sepidar prison, we danced to your songs and stood up together,
I saw how you live in the people's hearts. The same people who, like you,
are accused of being secessionists by ruling dictators and would-be dictators.
The people have learned from you, Mehdi, from your simplicity and whole-heartedness.
They worry for you, because they know you are unique and extraordinary!

I have lived my life to the sound of your voice, #Mehdi_Yarrahi.





~Sepideh Gholian, from Evin Prison, August 30, 2023

(The full poem in Farsi is posted by Sepideh’s brother.)

Sepideh Gholian, arrested at 23 for her journalism in support of striking sugarcane workers, has spent most of the past five years in prison, and remains incredibly rebellious and unrepentant. Check out and share our Sepideh Gholian Resource page for background and images to share.

We recommend: "Climate Literacy in the Land of Oil", Niloufar Bayani interviews female prisoners in Evin

June 22, 2023

This manuscript from the heart of Evin Prison is at times lyrical, at times polemical, as imprisoned environmentalist Niloufar Bayani brings the perspective of the global environmental emergency to Iranian prisoners. It's a serious scholarly work, not a social media post, so sit yourself down with a large coffee and you'll soon find yourself immersed.

Scholars At Risk published the work, which it introduces thus:

"Niloufar Bayani, an Iranian scholar and environmental conservationist who is falsely accused of espionage and imprisoned in Iran, has published “Climate Literacy in the Land of Oil: Interviews with female political prisoners in Evin,” a manuscript written between April 2022 and March 2023. In the piece, Ms. Bayani, surveys fellow prisoners on climate issues and explores potential reforms.

Ms. Bayani has also been teaching a course on climate change in the women’s ward of Evin prison, and the group recently issued an open letter on environmental concerns in Iran."

Download the manuscript and find out more about Niloufar Bayani's case from Scholars At Risk.

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“This is the way heroes act, they continue their struggle even in captivity”

May 24, 2023

Three reports from inside Iranian prisons

1. Reported from Gezel Hesar prison: “A numbers of prisoners of the 2nd ward of Gezel Hesar prison in Karaj started their hunger strike since Sunday, after hearing the news of the executions of Saeed Yaghobi, Majid Kazemi and Saleh Mir Hashemi, opposing the rise of numbers of executions in Iran. This is heroic act, while in captivity by Islamist criminals, waging war against them.” – IG post by @aworldwithoutborder May 23, 2023

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2. The political women of Evin Prison held a ceremony on Saturday at 6 pm in the courtyard of the women's prison to protest the recent executions, including the execution of two people in Arak prison on the charge of blasphemy and the three recently executed in Isfahan. In this ceremony, a number of attendees presented their views. – report from @golrokh.iraee, May 22 2023  (summarized by Burn The Cage).

Clockwise from top right: Bahareh Hedayat, Sepideh Gholian, Faezeh Hashemi, Vida Rabbani, Narges Mohammadi, Golrokh Iraee

Golrokh Iraee: "It is no longer acceptable to just say in words that we condemn the Islamic Republic and call for an end to executions.... From day one, [the IRI's ] reactionary foundation, was based on killing its opponents. The only way to save the lives of dozens of people who will be hanged with the call to prayer of tomorrow mornings and in the coming days is to take to the streets.... Not [protesting] from our cars or from our house's balconies in the dark of night, not with hashtags or by issuing statements …

"Our silence and sitting back and moaning and condemning ourselves and wrapping ourselves in sorrow and condemning in secret, is actually participating in erecting the gallows, giving consent to those who shamelessly issue the criminal [execution] orders and to those who carry them out.

"The only way forward is to overthrow the foundation of tyranny, and the path of revolution is accessible only from down in the streets."

3. Six political prisoners in the men’s ward of Evin Prison issued a statement, which includes:

“Contrary to the government's always incorrect calculations, the terror resulting from the execution will not prevent people from trying and fighting to rule over their own destiny."

Mostafa Tajzadeh, Amirsalar Davodi, Hossein Razak, Reza Shahabi, Saeed Madani, Kivan Mehtadi

Sunday, May 21, 2023

No more executions! May 20 protests

May 19, 2023

From Burn The Cage:

"The republic executed the accused in the Isfahan Khane case. At dawn today, Friday, May 29, the death sentence of Majid Kazemi, Saeed Yaqoubi and Saleh Mirhashmi, three of the accused in the "Khane Isfahan" case, was executed in Dastgerd prison in Isfahan.

Protests of execution took to streets in cities all over Iran. Protests are called for May 20 by the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims, and others, in dozens of cities worldwide: find one here.


Defend the lives of the prisoners!

Stop the executions!

Free Iran's political prisoners now!

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"We are still breathing; we owe this to you people!" - Isfahan defendants

May 18, 2023

Mohammad Hashemi, cousin of Majid Kazemi, one of the three sentenced to be executed in the “Isfahan House” case, published this tweet, translated to English by an IEC volunteer.

"Saleh, Majid and Saeed contacted their relatives and told them that "We are still alive” and we owe it to the people, for one more day, these uninterrupted breaths.

"You people, who had nothing but your dignity and your very life, put it all on the line to save the lives of the 'children of Iran'.

"You with thousands of your own pains, still sympathized with us. You, where poverty and privation may pull the rug out from under you at any moment, you have become our safest place to lean on. You honorable people, you who have turned a blind eye to your own suffering to reduce the suffering of our loved ones.

"You who, when the whole world and all the human rights organizations closed their eyes to our plea, with a few simple phones in your possession, did what they did not do with millions of dollars of budgets.

"We do not know when they are going to take the lives of Children of Iran, but we are going to be indebted for eternity to you who under the shadow of the Government of Death, did not hold anything back to safeguard our lives."



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"Don't Let Them Kill Us"

May 17, 2023

We received this communication in Farsi, below is the translation by an IEC volunteer.

Today, a paper was published that was released from Isfahan prison, which contained a short and horrifying message from #Saleh_Mirhashemi, #Majid_Kazemi and #Saeed_Yaqoubi: "Don't let them kill us."

The sentence is reminiscent of one of the last letters of #Zaniar_Moradi* who was executed at dawn on 7 September 2018 along with his cousin #Loghman_Moradi.

There were shocking sentences in Zaniar's letter, including where he wrote: "Don't let me be executed. Is the world so cruel that it will watch this scene where my cousin and I are executed in the street and not say anything or do anything?"

The full text of Zaniar's letter:

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"My name is #Zaniar_Moradi. Now I am sitting on death row on the other side of the world in the city of Karaj in Iran and I want to talk to you young people in Europe and America, to you young people of my age in Japan, Australia, France, Africa and everywhere in the world. Don't let them execute me. Is the world so cruel that it watches this scene where my cousin and I are executed in the street and does not say anything or do anything? I know that this fear of mine and this request will reach you through the Internet. So just take a few minutes, take a few seconds and hear from me how hard it is to face death at the age of twenty-one, to live with the nightmare of death and to be afraid of the footsteps of the prison guards and to tremble every moment!

"We have been imprisoned for three years now. I, Zaniar Moradi, and my casemate #Loghman_Moradi, were under torture for 9 months. They beat us so much that we couldn't walk anymore, and even today my back hurts a lot and two vertebrae in my back are broken. They told us that if we don't say what they want to hear, they will rape us and we signed the letters they brought to us. And now we are standing one step from death with a rope in a street in Tehran or Marivan, the city where we were born.

"These days, I heard that they are making preparations for our execution, and for four days I am not feeling well, I can't sleep at night, and I thought that maybe I can help myself with this letter. Don't let them execute us. In any way you can, try to use youthful initiatives and make the Islamic government of Iran see that we are not alone and that the world is protesting this cruel verdict. We hear the sound of your protest and your movement of protest here immediately. I am waiting to hear the news of your protests of people of my age."


#Republic_of_execution #Execution_is_intentional_murder_by_the_state


* Zaniar Moradi was from Kurdistan province of Iran, detained for suspected membership in the Komala Party

Mothers of Sanandaj Victims: "Break your silence and raise your voices - No to executions!"

May 17, 2023

Mothers whose children were murdered by Iranian security forces during powerful Woman-Life-Freedom uprisings in the city of Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, in the fall of 2022 call for an end to executions.

This video, translated to English by an IEC volunteer, says:

In the name of Zen Zian Azadi

We the mothers of the Sanandaj Revolution declare our full support for Saeed Yaqoubi’s mother. We consider the execution sentence  against  Saeed Yaqoubi, Saleh Mirhashemi, and Majid Kazemi as unjust and against humanity. We ask all mothers of the victims of Zen Zian Azadi and all freedom loving people to break your silence and raise your voices against this injustice.

No To Execution

(All the mothers chant:)

No To execution, no to execution!

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Mothers of Laleh Park: Rise Up Against Executions and Intentional Government Slayings!

May 10, 2023

Burn The Cage reposted the following statement from the Mothers of Laleh Park1 on May 9, 2023, with the introduction shown.

Execution is a deliberate murder by the State!

Let's all stand up against it!

We, the mothers of Iran’s Laleh Park, as a voice of the Iranian people's justice movement, consider execution to be an intentional murder by the state and a criminal act by the Islamic Republic of Iran. We strongly condemn these crimes and ask all freedom loving people to rise up and take urgent action for abolition of the death penalty, and for saving the lives of freedom fighters on the streets and in prisons. We are together and alongside with the "Woman, Life, Freedom" uprising, demanding freedom and liberation from dictatorship and elimination of any discrimination and injustice. We have been continuously shouting the following demands for years and we ask all the justice advocates to accompany us in reaching the following demands:

1) Unconditional release of all political and ideological prisoners,

2) Abolition of lashing and death penalty, i.e., executions, assassinations, murdering on the street, whipping, torturing, stoning and retribution,

3) Sentencing and punishment of all officials of Islamic Republic of Iran who have ordered and perpetrated all the crimes, to be tried in open-to-public fair people’s courts (for punishment, excluding the death penalty),

4) Honoring unconditional freedom of speech, freedom of ideology, freedom of writing,

5) Unconditional freedom of clothing and control over body,

6) Freedom to protest, to strike, to assemble, to organize, to have independent organizations and parties,

7) Honoring civil rights and abolishing every kind of discrimination and

8) separation of religion and state.

We deeply believe that the totally corrupt, authoritative and theocratic structure of the reactionary and undemocratic Islamic regime in Iran must be crushed, in order to create a new foundation.

Mothers of Laleh Park!

May 8, 2023

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1 Mothers of protestors killed by Islamic Republic during 2009 Green Movement

Archived Prisoner News


Sepideh Gholian Sentenced to Two More Years for "Insulting Supreme Leader"

May 5, 2023
@melikasaeeda Illustration of Sepideh chanting after she was released from Evin, March 25, 2023

Civil rights activist and writer Sepideh Gholian (Qolian) was sentenced to two years of prison for "Insulting" the Supreme Leader (Ali Khamenei). Sepideh's brother Mehdi posted on Instagram on May 5: "We received the news yesterday that Sepideh has been sentenced to another two years in prison, which effectively means starting over what we thought had just ended. Sepideh has been in and out of incarceration and exile since the fall of 2018" when she was 23 years old.

An Instagram post by free.nahid in German (for German-Iranian political prisoner Nahid Taghavi, administered by her daughter, Mariam Claren) sums up the background and the importance of defending Sepideh Gholian now. See below for translation to English.

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"The brave girl from Khuzestan, dressed in the style of the people of Balochistan, supporter of the workers of Haft Tapeh [sugar cane company], voice of the women in the Sepidar and Busher prisons. Louder than ever we shout: Freedom for Sepideh!

"Sepideh Gholian was sentenced to 2 more years in prison. On March 15, after 4 years and 7 months, she had been released from prison. Standing there in front of the prison, she shouted slogans and demanded the freedom of her friends who remained [in prison]. A few hours later —on her way to her home province of Khuzestan—  she was arrested again. The new trial was on charges of insulting the [Supreme] Leader.

"Sepideh is one of the most important voices  inside prison. She regularly reports on abuse and torture, especially in Sepidar and Busche women's prisons, where she [was detained] for some time.

"[Now], she is in Evin Prison and is detained alongside other fighters such as Niloufar Bayani, Narges Mohammadi, Nahid Taghavi, Sepideh Kashani, Niloufar Hamedi, Elahe Mohammadi, Golrokh Iraee and many others.

"Until the day when the gates of Evin open forever, we will fight for the freedom of political prisoners!

#FreeSepidehQolian #FreeNahid #freepoliticalprisoners #freeiran #jinjiyanazadi"

For more about Sepideh Gholian, including videos in Farsi, see our #FreeSepideh Resource Page.

"Alarming Surge in Executions in Iran: 45 in 7 days"

May 5, 2023

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported on May 5, 2023 that over the previous week, at least 45 people were executed in Iran, 29 for drug-related charges and 15 for murder.

Most of these executions have not been announced by official sources or media inside Iran. HRANA largely compiles its information from on-the-ground reports, and there may have been even more executions in secret. Comparing the executions to the same period last year, with no executions, HRANA noted this "shows the exponential growth of executions in Iran", which already has the highest per capita death penalty rate in the world

In addition, last week 19 prisoners previously sentenced to death on drug and murder charges were moved into solitary cells, possibly signaling their imminent executions.

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400 Iranian Activists Demand Freedom for Golrokh Iraee

April 25, 2023
Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee

More than 400 Iranian political and civil activists have issued a statement demanding the “immediate and unconditional” release of fellow activist Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraei (Iraee) from prison, announced in IranWire on April 21. The full statement in Farsi by 20 initial signatories was published in Akhbar-Rooz on April 19.

The activists decried last week's sentencing of Iraei to seven more years in prison "in a brutal, unfair, and vindictive process after months of indecision in detention."

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They noted, "After more than seven months of the Gina uprising, which brought the cry of freedom life to streets across the country, and a new sphere for women's liberation from historical oppression has emerged, we are witnessing a renewed wave of arrests, imprisonment and heavy sentences for political and social activists, who, despite the announcement of a general amnesty last month and the claim of the release of a large number of prisoners, remain in prison and security wards. They are imprisoned with cruel sentences."

On September 26, Iraei was re-arrested in a raid on her home in which she was subjected to beatings and other ill treatment. She had just been released in May 2022 after serving three years for "insulting the sacred" and "propaganda against the regime".

On April 13, the Tehran Revolutionary Court convicted her of "assembly and collusion against the regime" and "propaganda against the regime," for which she was sentenced to a total of seven years in prison.

At her "trial", the proof of "assembly and collusion" were her social media posts about upcoming protests, and proof of "propaganda against the state" in her trial were her denunciations of the killing of minors during the protests.

Iraee was also banned from leaving the country, staying in Tehran, or joining a party or group for two years.

She was denied temporary leave because she refused to write a "letter of repentance."


April 14, 2023
Mehran Raouf

This letter from political prisoner Mehran Raouf was composed and communicated in the harsh conditions of Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran. It was first released on Farsi social media on April 10, and then posted on Burn theCage/Free the Birds Instagram the next day. Excerpts have appeared in news websites (such as in Farsi) and other social media. Given the conditions under which the letter was composed, some passages were a bit rough in the Farsi original so minor edits were made in the English translation for clarification. This translation from Farsi and any text in brackets are by volunteers with the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now. Read the Farsi version on our Farsi Resources page.

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After the [Islamic Republic’s] announcement that issued a general amnesty, we’ve learned about their related criteria that make prisoners with dual citizenship ineligible for amnesty. Prisoners who are excluded must continue to serve the remainder of their unfair sentences. For instance, my seven and half year sentence could be reduced to two and half years; and after serving one third of my sentence, [my release] is subject to the discretion of the [judicial] bureaucracy made up of intelligence agents, the judge and the prosecutor.

Acting as though they live in a bygone era, the authorities of the judicial system show not even one bit of independence, saying that their hands are tied and that they just follow the rules. In their view, carrying out the law is subject to the interpretations and whims of those in power. For example, they consider a simple political activity — the publication of a book, the propagation and promotion of an ideal, a goal and a dream — to be counter to current law, and  crimes that violate [national] security.

They detain the accused in a rude and arrogant manner. They treat the accused as they would a murderer or armed robber. They barge into people's homes, overturn and break things, and occupy the accused’s living quarters for days. The accused is taken to a special solitary confinement cell in a special detention center, where the prisoner is harassed and tormented. Some wards, such as Ward 2A in Evin Prison, are run by the military division of the Revolutionary Guards. Ward 209 at the same prison belongs to the Intelligence Ministry. The accused is blindfolded, moved from place to place, and shoved against the wall, or taken to a small room with the interrogators behind tinted glass who cannot be seen by the accused — where murderers, rapists and those charged with espionage are taken.

According to [Iran’s] law, the accused cannot be held in temporary detention for longer than 48 hours, and must be released until the court date once bail has been posted. But the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence detained me for eight months without furlough. During that time, I was not allowed to see my lawyer. For months, my family and relatives were kept completely in the dark about my condition and where I was being held. During this entire time, I was denied access to telephone calls. All of this shows just how they trample over their own half-baked and oppressive laws.


Over the past several decades, [for people] of many countries, emigration to other countries has become an increasingly common trend. Like people from other countries, many Iranian nationals migrate to pursue education or to find jobs. Because being a resident of another country doesn't provide access to all the rights accorded to a native-born citizen, many people from other countries decide to become citizens of the second country, which is allowed by international law. The Iranian regime wants to exclude itself from such universal [practice], and instead use its own Islamic Law to imprison Iranian [dual] nationals, counter to the international laws recognizing dual citizenship.

Many people, just like me, with dual citizenship, may not even want to live in another country, and may decide to remain and live in Iran. Some members of my family live in the US and in France. Many Iranian nationals residing outside of Iran hold fast to their Iranian identity. But obtaining travel visas to many countries is very difficult and time-consuming with an Iranian passport. So people seek citizenship in [a different] country to be able to travel with a reputable passport (which often can make getting a travel visa unnecessary).

Despite all that, Islamic Republic authorities treat dual citizens in a way that, suddenly for absurd reasons, denies dual citizens their civil rights. They make it very difficult for them to receive a furlough or conditional release-time. And, they are also excluded from their general amnesty.

Some countries see dual citizens as valuable bargaining chips in their reciprocal give-and-take deals. This is how Iran's justice system behaves, despite claiming to follow human rights. The Iranian government either tries to get exorbitant sums of money in exchange for dual citizens, as is the cases with Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz or Sam Rajabi, who have been held for many years in Ward 4 [of Evin]. Or, the government tries to exchange dual citizens for Iranian convicts held in European and US prisons. In essence, this results in a kind of forced exile.

On the other hand, depriving prisoners with dual citizenship of their rights is a way the government sends a message to Iranian nationals with dual citizenship in the Diaspora: to expect severe consequences if they engage in political activities, so better not get involved in political activities—and if they do, they should not come back to Iran.

Even as some political prisoners are being deprived of their citizenship rights, many Islamic Republic officials themselves have dual citizenship, including cabinet-level ministers, members of parliament and even some members of the justice ministry staff. According to published statistics, around 650 Islamic Republic officials have dual citizenship.

My name is Mehran Raouf, Iran’s national identification number 7789, born in [the Kurdish city of] Kermanshah, fluent in the Kurdish, English and Persian languages, with a Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, and a Master's degree from Polytechnic of Central London [now called the University of Westminster]. I lived in England for 8 years. For a while, I worked as an engineer at Iran Khodro Automobile Manufacturing Co. I also worked at the Mother, a paper and paint production company. I've worked as a translator of books and articles. I've also worked as an English teacher.

I have been imprisoned since 2020 in a very crowded prison . There are 144 prisoners [in the Ward], who were convicted of financial crimes. There are 11-18 people in each cell. On April 14, 2023, one third of my sentence will be completed. After having served one third of my sentence it [should have been] possible to get a conditional release.

I am charged with being a sympathizer of the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist), because of participating in promotional activities and for translation and publication of certain books and the works of Bob Avakian.

The Communist Party of Iran [MLM] and its website offer a program to solve what ails society — discrimination, inequality, the oppression of women, exploitation, etc. They challenge society’s oppression of working people and its inequalities. They criticize and oppose the capitalist system in general. They critique other ills in society [that flow from capitalism] such as poverty, unemployment, the imperialist wars of aggression, the destruction of the environment, etc. They believe in scientific analysis and scientific methods in education and to solve the running sores of this society.

I'd like to add that my aspiration and goal in life has been to work to serve the people, and putting effort into reaching [them] and introducing [getting to] a better world that is fit for humanity, free from oppression, exploitation and corruption, a society free from environmental pollution, free from disease and futile wars.

As a college student, I had permanent residency status in England, so I applied to also become a permanent citizen of that country. Nonetheless, my home, my domicile and my work have always been in Iran. I have no intention of relocating and living in England, or any other country.

The blatant discrimination and oppression against imprisoned dual citizens, is not something unfamiliar to those of us who have been living under Islamic Republic rule for over 40 years. I, and many political prisoners, women's rights activists, environmental activists and labor activists have been imprisoned and charged solely for having different views and beliefs. We have been charged for protesting against wrong and tyrannical policies and laws.

In solidarity with the widespread uprising by the people, we demand the unconditional release of all political prisoners.

Mehran Raouf
Evin Prison, early April, 2023

Sepideh Gholian, beaten in Evin and charged with "insult", refuses to participate in "illegitimate" trial

April 13, 2023
Sepideh on her release from Evin, March 15 2023, describing Khamenei as mythical monster "Zahak"

As we reported in our March 17, 2023, press release, Sepideh Gholian has been held in Evin Prison after being arrested just four hours after her released on "amnesty". On April 13, IranWire reported that a relative of hers described physical abuse and rape threats she is suffering in custody.

Her relative told IranWire that upon entering the ward, a muscular man rushed toward Gholian and asked, "Are you a little elf who insulted Agha?”

“I should cut your tongue off," the man added.

The man attempted to pull the activist’s tongue out and beat her for several hours while threatening her with rape.

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"We will tie your hands and feet and take good care of you!" the interrogators told Gholian.

In Ward 209, she was forced to sleep on the floor in the corridors without any blanket.

She was informed that she would be transferred to Tehran's Fashafouye prison. When Gholian expressed surprise at being sent to a male prison, her jailers said, "A men’s prison is the right place for a woman like you. You want to draw men's attention with your work, and we’ll help you achieve your goals.”

On March 19, she was taken to Fashafouye prison, where she was left in a car in front of the prison for hours with a siren blaring, until she was eventually returned to Evin.

Hearings in her case are scheduled to start on April 18.

"Freedom is not be given but to be taken"

A BurnTheCage post in Farsi on April 13 also reported: "Sepideh Gholian through publishing a letter from inside the jail announced that 'As long as the Islamic Executioner Regime is in power and the humble explorers of the spring (those who are the beginners of the flow of the struggle) and others who oppose the tyranny are hostages of the Islamic Regime' she 'will not attend at any of their courts'. She sees no legitimacy for the 'showcase kangaroo courts' of the Islamic Republic whose chiefs 'have signed the execution order of revolutionaries'.

"This letter was Sepideh's response to the spokesperson of the judicial system the had said that Sepideh was accused of 'Insult' toward the Supreme Commander (Khamenei) and her case was transferred to the Revolutionary Court of Tehran."

"Our promise still stands. Freedom is not to be given but to be taken, and I, Sepideh Gholian, stand by the promise I made to the people of Iran," she wrote.

"Toomaj is severely injured and he needs care outside of prison”: Toomaj's Uncle

April 12, 2023

On April 7, 2023, Mr. Eghbal Eghbali was interviewed on Iran International TV regarding the condition of the beloved rebel rapper, Toomaj Salehi, indicted for “Corruption on earth”, a capital offense.

The following is an English translation of the interview by IEC volunteers.

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Moderator: Uncle of Toomaj Salehi, Mr. Eghbali from Germany joined us. Can you tell us more about Toomaj’s situation?

Mr. Eghbali: Greetings to you and greetings to your viewers, if you allow me to present my talk in 5 sections; I will start with dear Toomaj.

Toomaj was healthy when he was arrested and we want Toomaj back healthy. As it was mentioned in your program, Toomaj has suffered serious physical injuries, he has been in solitary confinement for almost 160 days and they did not allow him to get (any medical) treatments. Mentally, Toomaj is doing very well.

In terms of his case, which his father Chengiz Salehi and honorable lawyers Mr. Raisian and Ms. Etemadi are pursuing, within the framework of these oppressive and anti-human laws, these dear ones are defending the life of an Iranian citizen.

Outside of Iran, we have taken some actions. My niece Shabnam, she has secured a lawyer to defend Toomaj and to file a complaint against the Islamic government to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva. We will use all means necessary for the immediate release of Toomaj.

There are other measures that are in process inside the country. You can see some of them in all demonstrations through slogans as well as writings on walls.

Famed filmmakers hold up photos of Toomaj, @ToomajOfficial IG

Yesterday, some of Iran’s greatest in cinema had a meeting with Mr. Chengiz Salehi, the father of Toomaj, including Ms. Fateme Motamed Arya, dear Jafar Panahi and dear Mohammad Rasoulof, all of whom are the pride of Iranian cinema and the conscience of the art world, and they inquired about the status of Toomaj.

Ms. Gohar Eshghi, mother of Sattar Beheshti, tried to contact me several times and inquired about Toomaj's condition. And I hope that she will be allowed to visit her children in Iran [Ms. Gohar Eshghi calls all victims of IRI her children].

As you know that slogan writing (on walls) continues in Iran, and in all demonstrations outside the country, the freedom of Toomaj and the freedom of all political prisoners are often raised.

Toomaj, Sepideh Gholian and Hossein Ronaghi and other political prisoners, are the symbol of freedom of expression in Iran. The imprisonment of Toomaj, the imprisonment of Sepideh Gholian means the imprisonment of freedom, confining the freedom of all Iranian citizens. And we will do all that is necessary to free Iranian citizens.

The woman, life, freedom, revolution has had three achievements and we should not only lose these achievements, but rather elevate them.

  • First, this revolution has gained global support.
  • Second, it has put a brake on the execution of those sentenced todeath, to prevent the execution and the repetition of tragedies like the1980's.
  • Third, the choice to wear or not wear the hijab [as opposed to compulsory hijab] that we see everyday in the streets shows how our brave women and girls live the way they want and have been able to impose this on theIslamic government.

I want to raise another point: you need to pay attention to execution sentences issued for Jamshid Sharmahd and dear Abbas [Mojahed] Kourkour [unjustly convicted of the shooting death of 10-year-old Kian Pirfalak in his dad's car] without any reason. Iranian society and the international community must defend their release and unconditional freedom and really put an end to these crimes that the government of the Islamic Republic has committed in these last 44 years. Particularly now that the regime is weakened, we must use this situation to force them to back off.

Mentally, Toomaj is fine, but physically, he is severely injured and he needs care outside of prison, in a well-equipped hospital under the supervision of a medical team including the best doctors in Iran. This is our demand. When Toomaj was arrested he was healthy and we want our Toomaj back healthy.

Moderator: Mr. Eghbali, what is their answer? What does the government say? Why don't they let him out of prison for medical treatment?

Mr. Eghbali: Can you tell me in which case the government has acted in a responsible manner. Why would Toomaj’s case be any different? This government is not even accountable to God. They don’t answer to anyone; they don’t have any logic.

This regime belongs to the mullah God and until this government is dismantled, this situation will continue. They will not be accountable to anyone.

Learn from Sadegh Fouladivanda, Murdered by IRI

April 6, 2023

The following is an English translation by IEC volunteers of a video shared by BurnTheCage, part of a longer unsubtitled video posted by Akhbar-Rooz on April 4, 2023 (منبع: کانال مدرسه رهایی).

For translation, click "Open Full Page" below.

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Sadegh Fouladivanda was a communist activist and worker from the city of Gachsaran.

Born in 1993, he studied mechanical engineering. Sadegh worked for a while as a rug cleaner and for a while he worked in Asaluye Hell1 and finally he repaired shoes in the "Flowers-of-Pain"2.He was a professional boxer. He read a lot, because he understood that to gain knowledge requires study. But he had come to understand that knowledge alone is not enough to make a revolution, and  that theory has to be joined with revolutionary practice.  He lived his life according to his beliefs.

He had been a street kid from what you might call the lowest depths [of society]. His vision [of hope for humanity] was what was most important to him. He lived anonymously on the margins of society, where he carried out underground political work, because he believed in revolutionary practice and was a professional revolutionary.

He took risks to show that the movement is alive despite all the arrests, the torture, the executions and repression; that the Osyan/Rebellion has no intention of stopping; that it is alive in the hearts of people at the bottom of society, that courage is alive, and a vision of hope for humanity is awake in the burnt-out trenches, standing tall and keeping watch against the enemy.

Sadegh was arrested on February 4, 2023. There was no information about which agency had detained him or where he was being held. During this time, he had no contact with his family. On February 22, after 18 days with absolutely no news, his body was found in the waters of a canal behind a market for street vendors near the center of the city. His hands were still tied and there were rope marks on his neck. His body was so swollen and bruised that his face was unrecognizable, and he had to be identified by his hair, tattoos and his legs (the only part of him that was not bruised).  Initially, there were estimates that he had been dead more than 24 hours. But following medical examination, the coroner announced that his time of death had been one to two weeks before the body was found. His family was severely threatened against reporting the matter to the media, and they have remained silent.

The authorities tortured Sadegh, strangled him, and ultimately threw his body in the canal.  But by exposing the savagery of this [regime] mob’s senseless actions, we expose their [actual] weakness.

We believe that Sadegh, with courage in his heart and confidence in his eyes stuck to his beliefs until his last breath, and did all he could to humiliate them before his red death. We believe that Sadegh was killed precisely because of his beliefs and ideology -- an ideology that shakes the ruling class to their very core, capitalists and theocratic fundamentalists alike.  To their way of thinking, the demands of the class conscious proletariat are truly terrifying, so this cruel system cruelly silenced a righteous voice, imagining that this would keep their tyranny from being uprooted. But can these ideas be shackled or killed?

Sadegh was an activist for, and a voice of,  the child laborers of this society, or as he called them, the children of the depths.

Sadegh Fouladivanda was buried on the 24th of February 2023 in Behesht Zahra Gachsaran, Razvan, third plot.


1 Asaluyeh is a city on the Persian Gulf in Southern Iran where scorching summer heat averages over 99o.

2 A poetic reference to the well-known verse by French poet Charles Baudelaire, from the book Les Fleurs du Mal.

“He whose thoughts, like skylarks,
Toward the morning sky take flight
— Who hovers over life and understands with ease
The language of flowers and silent things!”

Tribute to Nahid Taghavi: "You were the one who had fought and is still fighting..."

April 2, 2023
Nahid Taghavi, on Instagram/Hasti__Amirii

We are pleased to provide a translation by IEC volunteers of this tribute and comment found on Instagram that reminds us yet again what a precious resource --the potential leadership and example that political prisoners represent-- are kept locked away from us and endangered in Iran's dungeons. #FreeNahid!

My dearest Nahid - I exactly remember it when I first saw you in front of the door of the open air prison yard. You had returned from medical treatment leave. Prior to that time, I had heard your name and your memories from Bahareh Soleimani and  Sepideh Gholiyan.

Every day I think about the times we had discussions. When you talked about the Confederation [the Iranian Students Associations in the US, Europe and elsewhere around the world, prior to 1979 revolution]. When you talked about Italy and the student activism there, about March 8th of 1978, about your return to Iran after the revolution, about your decision in wanting to come back to Iran 10 years sooner and about your imprisonment a few years later.

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I miss so much the times that we used to watch soccer. When Netherlands was playing against Argentina, you left to go to sleep. Short time later, we ran to you to wake you up to let you see that Netherlands scored two points. We mentioned how much we were fans of games that were well played. That night, we were so happy that we had seen a good soccer game in prison. For a few moments, it felt like we had been freed from the inner walls of the prison.

You were like a teacher to me, being involved in years of struggle. You had stood up against dictatorship for years. You had fought to achieve your goals. You were not like those whose beliefs wavered with a gust of the wind in media. You were the one who had fought and is still fighting for equality, for liberation and for breaking up our chains. Every day you were more resolute than before. Your presence in prison elevated so much the quality of our days.

We were singing Bella Ciao in Persian. Now when I close my eyes and reminisce about the time you were singing Bella Ciao in Italian in open air prison yard, my heart wants to fly to you.

In tribute to #Nahid_Taghavi #ناهید_تقوی

Oh partigiano, portami via,Ché mi sento di morir.E se io muoio da partigiano,Oh bella, ciao! Bella, ciao! Bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!E se io muoio da partigiano, tu mi devi seppellir.E seppellire lassù in montagna,Oh bella, ciao! Bella, ciao! Bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!E seppellire lassù in montagna,Sotto l’ombra di un bel fior.Tutte le genti che passeranno,Oh bella, ciao! Bella, ciao! Bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!

One of the Comments:

Somayeh_Kargar (replying to @Amin_Heydarlo)

The quality of life and struggle for me, is completely different than before, after meeting Nahid. It's not merely because of her lovely personality, but because Nahid is the concentration of sixty years of struggle, because of her steadfastness about the struggle and her genuine belief about revolution.

Free the innocent caretakers of the environment

March 2, 2023

In an open letter from 20 women, cellmates in Evin demanded the release of environmentalist prisoners. IEC volunteers have translated it into English. Among the signatories are Nahid Taghavi and Sepideh Gholian.

Clockwise from top left: Niloufar Bayani, Abdolreza Kouhpayeh, Houman Jokar, Amirhossein Khaleghi Hamidi, Taher Ghadirian, Morad Tahbaz, Sepideh Kashan Doust, and Sam Rajabi. Composite: Radio Farda

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The release of a number of political and ideological prisoners as well as recent detainees is one of the results of the "Women, Life, Freedom" movement. However, there are other innocent people still in prisons because of the opinions of the bailiffs (interrogators) as well as the judicial-security authorities. There are many innocent people who are still in prisons, under inhumane and unjust treatments due to authoritarian government policies and power struggles {amongst them}. Among environmental activists who lovingly and compassionately served to preserve the environment of our country in the most remote parts of the country and have given their hearts for our land.

While all the observers have acknowledged that the cases against these environmentalists are made up, the countless cases of human rights violations do not end/stop here in these made up charges . Some of them are as follow:

Two years of detention in the security cells of the IRGC and eight months of solitary confinement, interrogations under torture and severe mental and psychological pressure, being under physical torture, falsification, slander, threats, intimidation, trickery and deception, insults and threats and sexual harassment, threatening to inject air and paralyzing ampoules/needles, distorting the accused's writings, showing photos and videos of Kavous Seyed Emami* and interrogating the accused's sister and father... making frightening noises and banging on chairs and walls, sending him meeting his wife with blood-stained clothes and torn lips,...lack of access to the case until the court day, because of it being classified as confidential and high security, lack of access to a lawyer until court hearings, having no knowledge of the charges/indictment till the court date, the judge insulting the defendants and expelling them from the trial session and the court, without announcing the verdict and finally, deprivation of parole, leave/furlough that are directives issued by the judiciary.

Therefore, according to the proceedings and the issuing of rulings that are even against the laws of the government, these verdicts are basically invalid and lack legal validity.

We, the cellmates and signatories of this letter, regardless of our political and ideological differences, are united in insisting on the standards and principles of human rights and we believe that the freedom of Iranian environmental activists and experts; Sepideh Kashani, Nilofar Bayani, Homan Jokar, Sam Rajabi, Morad Tahbaz, Amir Hossein Khaleghi, Taher Qadirian and all the innocents imprisoned in prisons are essential. Even after  their release, the suffering and nightmare that has cast a shadow on their lives, their families, and the Iranian society will not be compensated.


Narges Mohammadi, Nahid Tagavi, Zahra Zehtabchi, Fatemeh Mothni, Mahvash Shahriari, Fariba Kamalabadi, Sepideh Qolian, Bahareh Hedayat, Faezeh Hashemi, Golrokh Iraei, Vida Rabbani, Shakila Monfared, Alieh Motlabzadeh, Noushin Jafari, Hasti Amiri, Raha Asgarizadeh, Zila Makundi, Maleeha Jafari, Golareh Abbasi, Bahareh Soleimani.

[*Kavous Seyyed Emami was an environmental activist, a Doctor in Sociology and a Professor at Emam Sadegh University. He was arrested during the round-up of environmental activists in February 2018, and died two days later under suspicious circumstances in Evin Prison. The Iranian regime has declared the cause of his death to be suicide.]

Letter from 5 Women Prisoners on Their Release: "Result of solidarity in the uprising of #Zen_Zandagi_Azadi"

February 18, 2023

Five women recently released from Evin Prison in Iran published a letter calling attention to the many political prisoners still unjustly held, naming their cellmates at Evin Women's Ward in particular. This letter was posted on BurnTheCage Instagram on February 17; below is an unofficial English translation by IEC volunteers.

Farsi graphic reads: “Statement from 5 female political prisoners after their release from prison: release of political prisoners is a result of the solidarity of the woman life freedom revolution and the people’s uprising against the brutal regime.” From @BurnTheCage

We, the authors of this letter, as a very small part of Iran's political prisoners who have recently been released from prison, believe that the recent wave of freedom of political prisoners is the result of the protest uprising of freedom-loving and brave people, including the women and youth fighters of Iran. An incident that is the result of solidarity in the uprising of #Zen_Zandagi_Azadi  (Woman, Life, Freedom) and popular uprising against government repression. A movement whose broad dimensions and provocative basis have attracted the attention of the whole world and inspired the struggle for justice and freedom.

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Since we have been released we are awaiting the release of the other cellmate prisoners. Including Sepideh Kashani and Niluofar Bayani whose stories are heard by everyone by now, and the oppression they have gone through in the past 5 years. They are among the noblest people of this land, who during these years have paid for their love and protection of the nature of this land through prison and torture.

What is very impressive and remarkable is the composition and social base of the prisoners. The number of prisoners includes women's activists, teachers, students, workers, sociologists, university professors, lawyers, journalists, cinematographers, athletes, writers, artists, New Christian converts, dervishes, relatives, social justice activists, Baha'i community and environmental activists, etc. This social expansion shows the astonishing extent of the government's dealings with the people of Iran, as well as the resistance of the people in different classes and strata.

With the continuation of your support, the people, and the efforts and persistence of the international community, we will soon see the release of all political prisoners, men and women, and our fellow prisoners in Evin, and other prisons. Including:

#Narges_ Mohammadi, #Nahid_Taghavi, #Maryam_Hajihasani, #Fatemeh _Mosna, #Zahra_Zehtabchi, #Sapideh_Qalyan, #Mahvash_Shahriari, #Fareba_Kamalabadi, #Bahareh_Hedayt, #Faeze_Hashmi, #Golrukh_Iraei, #Thamin_Ehsani, #Akram_Nasiriyan, #Nasrin_Javadi, #Masoumeh_Nasaji. #Maliha_Nazari, #Sara_Ahmadi, #Niloufer_Bayani, #Sapideh_Kashani, #Mariam_AkbariManjalfard, #Zinab_Jalalian, #Saha_Mortazaei and...

Freedom Day is near.

Written by:

Break down the prison walls
Political Prisoners must be freed!

Filmmaker Jafar Panahi Released on 3rd Day of Hunger Strike

February 3, 2023
Panahi in "No Bears", Janus Films

Update: Feb 3, Jafar Panahi was temporarily released on bail on the third day of his dry hunger strike. This is a victory for the people around the world who shared his story, but we must demand that his charges ("propaganda against the state" - for his art!) be dropped, and that the outrageous sentence of 6 years in prison, ban on travel and ban on filmmaking, be vacated.

Feb 2: Jafar Panahi, one of the most creative minds and one of the great filmmakers of our time has begun a hunger strike on February 1 at Tehran’s Evin prison. Panahi has produced five award winning films since he was banned by Iran’s theocrats in 2010 from doing his work for 20 years. The IEC sends our heartfelt support for his urgent struggle to be free from prison. We call on the world’s justice loving people to urgently do everything politically possible for his immediate and unconditional release.

Dolly Veale, IEC spokesperson February 2, 2023

See below the text for Panahi's letter, translated by his representative, as posted on The Hollywood Reporter, or in Farsi on Panahi's wife's Instagram.

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On July 20 of this year, in protest against the arrest of two of our beloved colleagues, Mr. Mohammad Rasulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad, together with a group of filmmakers gathered in front of Evin prison, and it was decided that a number of us and the lawyers of the detained colleagues entered the Evin courthouse and peacefully. We were talking with the relevant authorities and the relevant investigator when an agent came and took me to the judge of branch 1 of Evin’s sentence enforcement. The young judge said without introduction: “We were looking for you in the skies, we found you here.”

You are under arrest!” In this way, I was arrested and transferred to Evin prison for the execution of a sentence that had been issued for eleven years. According to the law for which I was arrested in 1988, after more than ten years of non-execution of a [sentence] the sentence is subject to the passage of time and becomes unenforceable. Therefore, this arrest was more like banditry and hostage-taking than the execution of a judicial sentence.

Even though my arrest was illegal, the respected lawyers succeeded in violating the ruling issued in 1990 by resuming the proceedings in the Supreme Court, which is the highest authority for judicial cases, on the 15 October 2022 of this year, so that they can go to the same branch for retrial. Width to be referred. In this way, according to the law, with the acceptance of the request for retrial and violation of the verdict, the case was referred to the branch and I should have been released immediately by issuing bail; While we have seen that it takes less than thirty days from the time of arrest to the hanging of the innocent youth of our country, it took more than a hundred days to transfer my case to the branch with the intervention of security forces.

According to the clarity of the law in cases of violation of the sentence in the Supreme Court, the judge of the same branch was obliged to release me by issuing a bail order as soon as the case was referred to that branch, however, by issuing a heavy bail order, in practice after months of detention Legally, I was still kept in prison with repeated excuses and every day by the security agencies.

What is certain is that the behavior of the bully and extra-legal security institution and the unquestioning surrender of the judicial authorities once again show the implementation of selective and tasteful laws.

It is only an excuse for repression. Even though I knew that the judicial system and the security institutions have no will to implement the law (which they insist on), but out of respect for my lawyers and friends, I went through all the legal ways to get my right. Today, like many people trapped in Iran, I have no choice but to protest against these inhumane behaviors with my dearest possession, that is, my life.

Therefore, I firmly declare that in protest against the extra-legal and inhumane behavior of the judicial and security apparatus and this particular hostage-taking, I have started a hunger strike since the morning of the 12th of Bahman, and I will refuse to eat and drink any food and medicine until the time of my release. I will remain in this state until perhaps my lifeless body is freed from prison.

With love for Iran and the people of my land, Jafar Panahi

The Century of Nature's Revenge is Ahead of Us, Letter from Niloufar Bayani

February 1, 2023

Imprisoned environmentalist Niloufar Bayani published the following letter in Etemad newspaper. Unofficial translation is by IEC volunteers.

She brings a scientific approach to the COVID-19 pandemic and spillover viruses in general, exposing how conspiracy theories stem from a human-centered and unscientific viewpoint.

Bayani's letter is a reflection of how imprisoned dissidents of all kinds continue to struggle to affect things from behind bars, and why the people of Iran and the world need these leaders to be free and bring their experience and expertise to bear on the urgent crossroads facing Iran.

In the early days of the corona pandemic, the news was full of "Earth's breathing after human quarantine", "nature's revenge", "return of blue sky to polluted cities". Every time I talked to my parents, they told me about the pictures of wild animals that were walking without fear in the streets of usually crowded cities. For me, the most interesting part of the news were the articles that speculated about the change in the relationship between man and nature. That man, faced with a huge crisis caused by an ordinary virus, will finally come to his senses and review his destructive relationship with the nature.

More than two years and 100 days have passed since COVID-19 [began], but there is no news of a change in attitude towards the nature. I tell myself that maybe there is no opportunity to act differently yet, maybe something has been stirred in people's minds that will emerge later.

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I talked to 25 people around me about this. 25 women with an average age of 45 years, each of whom was or is active in one of the political and social spheres. I ask them if the COVID epidemic has had an effect on the relationship between man and nature? The result is unbelievable. I quickly realized that basically the problem is something else. It is not whether man has learned a lesson from mistreatment of nature, that severe destruction of nature will eventually affect him or not! Rather, what has changed is people's view of man's wrestling against nature.

It seems that the globalization of COVID has reinforced the power of human technology over natural forces more than before. It is true that the possibility of the virus being man-made in a human laboratory has not been completely ruled out and many scientists are still not convinced by China's answers about the origin of this virus, but what is interesting is that 17 out of the same 25 people believe that the coronavirus was completely man-made. What is woven into the fabric of the belief in the laboratory origin of this emerging virus is the power of man and his advanced technology. That by engineering a small virus, man can destroy everything and rebuild it, change economic and social relations and cleanse the earth's population so that future generations will be safe from the weakness of the victims of the virus.

There are many conspiracy theories among them: this [should sound] an alarm. Everything starts from man and ends with man in a space devoid of any other force. I ask myself, what about other virus epidemics that have killed many times in human history? Why must this time be the villain behind the story? And will the same hypotheses be raised for monkey pox and Crimean- Congo fever? There is also this image that the process of evolution is now progressing in human laboratories, and in the era of human rule over other species (Anthropocene), human decisions have replaced the laws of nature through technology. Human-centeredness is so fixed in our thinking that nature is more and more removed from the scene of our minds.

We all have the right to raise our hypotheses and look for answers. I recently read a book that examined the coronavirus conspiracy theories and provided scientific answers for each one: "Planet of Viruses" written by Carl Zimmer, translated and updated by Kave Faiz Elahi. This book, which looks at history from the perspective of these small creatures, is a good guide for a better understanding of viral epidemics and its long history. As stated in the translator's introduction, while humans appeared on the earth only 300,000 years ago, "Viruses have been present on this planet nearly four billion years before the newly arrived humans and have complete control over all the details of life in it." They are even present in the human genome. The DNA of each of us contains approximately 100,000 pieces of DNA inserted by retroviruses from the HIV group, to the extent that some of our body's functions are dependent on these viral DNA strands. (For example, some viral proteins play a role in embryo formation.)

We humans are disturbing the balance in the last untouched places of this planet. We have left no room for other forms of life. We destroy their habitats, we eat all kinds of animals and plants, algae and bacteria, we treat wildlife as a human-managed zoo. We are changing the climate of the earth, we are separating domestic animals from nature, and we are cramming thousands upon thousands of them together in livestock farms, poultry farms, and huge industrial pools, and by doing this, we are creating an environment where viruses can mix well and new types and strains appear. We buy and sell wild animals along with all their pathogens in our markets.

Our air, ground, rail, and shipping routes are so vast and complex that we provide a route that a virus could not imagine for millions of years, to cross in a few hours. We have turned ourselves and our domestic animals into the feathers and feet of diseases and we carry them around the globe in our bodies.

We are not even honest with ourselves. Some of us still depend on hunting wild animals for protein, and some of us are cursing the first group that caused the transmission of the disease that the quarantine has disrupted our trips to the seashore. We consider ourselves so separate from nature that we forget that many of our diseases are shared with other animals: influenza came to us from birds; HIV from our closest relatives, gorillas and chimpanzees; Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) from camels and measles from cows. We are almost certain that the coronavirus, i.e. SARS-COV-2, has spread from bats to a mammal species, i.e. dog or pangolin, and then to humans. Most of our viruses can also infect birds and infect other mammals. When we want everything from nature for ourselves, we also take the diseases of other creatures. More precisely, we make ourselves of those viruses, etc., so that they can be spread all over the world through us.

As long as we interfere in the natural course and life of animals and other living beings and selfishly make them a part of our lives, we have to expect more and more new diseases and pandemics. If the way humans deal with nature does not change, maybe the new century will be the century of nature's revenge on humans.

Statement by Bahareh Soleimani from Evin

January 31, 2023

Published on Instagram January, 2022. The following is translation by IEC volunteers; translator additions are in curly brackets.

First of all, let me make it clear that as a freedom-loving person and a political prisoner, I am against any form of repression, imprisonment, solitary confinement, execution and torture. I believe that no one should be persecuted or imprisoned for their political or ideological views. For this reason, I am defending and will defend the rights of all prisoners, regardless of their political opinion or orientation. I believe that there should be a healthy and free atmosphere for debate between different political and ideological orientations/persuasions.

It is important to share some of my experiences and observations regarding certain particular political tendencies and behavior here.

Before being imprisoned, I had no direct contact with "royalists" except in social media and images broadcasted virtual media channels. I had seen their violent, abusive and obscene interactions with their opponents. I thought that those behaviors were only on social media and the internet.

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Now that I am in prison, I am forced, and with great regret, to spend my imprisonment with Reza Pahlavi's supporters and their monarchist attitude and views. It doesn't matter if they call themselves "royalists", "constitutionalists" or any other name. What is important is the nature and content of their thoughts and viewpoints.

With great certainty I could say that some of them are among the most immoral, unprincipled and uneducated {ignorant} people, present in the women's political ward of Evin prison. One of the rules of the women's section/ward is that it is forbidden to insult and humiliate the political orientation and opinions of others. But this law has been violated time and time again by these people. They easily attack the intellectual orientation and identity of others with rude and insulting nasty words. It might not be bad to mention a few examples of here:

Pahlavi supporters believe that all those who fought during Pahlavi's era and were political activists (regardless of their {political} orientation) were terrorists and murderers, and they constantly use these {exact} words. Were- (Marzieh Ahmadi Eskoui, Mehrnoosh Ebrahimi, Masoume Tawafchian, Khosro Golsarkhi, Karamat Daneshian, Saeed Sultanpour, etc.,{these are ex-prisoners under the Shah, and most were executed by his regime and Saeed Sultanpour was executed by IRI, captured in his wedding night} who lost their dear lives for the liberation and well-being of the people in the their fight against the fascist Pahlavi regime) -terrorists?

I wish these so-called high on horses of political activism and die hard fans of the Pahlavi era would read a little, to know that Saeed Sultanpour, the popular poet and eternal songwriter of "Aftabkaran Jangle", {those who spread the seeds of Sun in the forest/jungle} when he was arrested by the Shah's dreaded security organization and imprisoned, one of his accusations/crimes was reading the book of " The Mother" by Maxim Gorky. They should know that the printing and selling of Marxist books was prohibited and carrying these books was punishable by imprisonment. {people were reading this book in secret}

From their point of view, {Ahmad}Shamlo, the great poet and freedom lover, is an apostate and a traitor. Why? Because he was a progressive individual and { amongst other things} wrote poetry for freedom fighters and those who were executed under the Pahlavi era. These people believe that Evin prison was built by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi for terrorists and that was correct to do so, and they consider themselves to be the righteous owner, decedent and inheritor of this land!

They defend the regime that, its Savak goons {Organization of Information and Security of the Country, OISC} tortured many lives in this same Evin prison and tore their bodies into pieces and gunned these steadfast cedars(stood upright like cedar trees in the forest) down, on the same hills where our eyes opens to it every morning. Was the generation of our fathers and mothers, who were fighters both before and after the 1979 revolution, and those who were imprisoned and tortured under both regimes, were they terrorists?

If opposing and fighting against fascist governments (with any political orientation and viewpoint and for any reason, whether social, political, cultural, etc.) is terrorism, then the Pahlavi supporters, should not defend the protesters of Jan 2017, and November 2019, and autumn of 2022, because according to this point of view, they could be {put under the same category of } terrorists. One should not approach political events absurdly and opportunistically. Wherever it is beneficial for them, that these protestors become children of the country and wherever it is harmful for them, the protesters become terrorists.

Another of their most immoral and inhumane behaviors is insulting and attacking Afghanistani immigrants and their identity. This backward and deeply reactionary political trend often reveals its racist view by using the words like "Afghani dog", "Ridiculous Afghani ", and {saying these words to immigrants} "If you were caught by the Taliban, they would have cut you in to pieces and the Islamic Republic has been very kind to you thus far". Whenever they face the opposition and protests of others against {these behaviors} themselves that warn them these are fascistic approaches, they proudly admit that yes, we are fascists and proud of it! These reactions are neither out of anger nor stubbornness towards those who oppose them. {Through this they reveal exactly who they are}

They really are fascists. Those who, in front of the television, rejoice and get excited at the growth of Neo-Nazis in other countries; those who admire Hitler because he considered the Aryan race to be the superior race. After more than three quarters of a century since the decline of Hitler's fascism, it is still taboo for the majority of German people to mention Hitler, but in Iran it is a historical myth for this spectrum. The first book these people read is Hitler's absurd "Mein Kampf" book, which for them has the authority of the Bible.

These fans of the superiority of the Aryan race do not know that if they get caught by the German Neo-Nazis, their " superior Aryan gene" would not save {their ass} them and they may be burned alive. To love your country is a natural feeling that every human being can have towards their country and hometown. But patriotism, which means that you consider your homeland "The country full of gems" {Iranian nationalists regard Iran as a country made of precious gems...) as superior to others and believe in national, ethnic and racial superiority, is equal to chauvinism and leads to racist and fascist views.

Another case that recently revealed another part of the real face/nature of these royalists, was after chanting the slogan "Death to three evildoers, mullahs, leftists, hypocrites" by the supporters of this spectrum in London. Some of the royalists supporters of these chants in the women's ward said that these three {categories of} criminals deserve revenge/ to be killed (that is, we leftists and supporters of the Mojahedin organization). Why? Because we are against them.

The legendary heroes,of these monarchists, are of such “Shaaban Bimukh'' {Shaaban with no brain}, who during the Pahlavi era along with his goons and thugs attacked popular protests and opponents of the Pahlavi regime and crushed them {During the Coup 53}. The same Shaaban Bimokh whom the fans of monarchy proudly refer to as Shaaban Jafari ``Tajbakhsh" { one who saved the crown} A nickname that the king/shah gave to a lumpen like him. It is better that Mr. Pahlavi {Reza his son} does not pretend/pose as a democratic element, and stops delivering demagogic words. Me and my cellmates experience with Pahlavi fans, the real concentration of the viewpoints of their intense attitude, morals and behaviors every day.

The last word is that history will never go back. We will fight to the end and we will not allow the {return of} experience and repetition of oppression, destruction and tyranny. We should not choose between bad and worse. When you choose bad, you are actually choosing the worst. {When you are forced to choose between bad and worse, that's not a choice at all!}

Bahareh Soleimani, a political prisoner

Women's ward of Evin prison

Jan 22 2023

Toomaj's lawyers granted right to represent him after 60 days

December 30, 2022

Toomaj Salehi has been confined and tortured in Iran's hellhole prisons for two months, indicted on a capital charge of "Corruption on Earth", without visitation or representation. On December 29, Amir Raesian, lawyer selected by Toomaj Salehi's family, announced on Twitter that he and another selected lawyer, Ms Roza Etemad Ansari, were finally allowed access to case files and are to be allowed to visit Toomaj (as yet undetermined when). Tens of thousands of Iranians and other followers of Toomaj are anxiously awaiting news of his health conditions, daily sharing #HowHealthyIsToomajReally.

Small as this judicial concession may appear, it shows that the Islamic regime can be vulnerable to internal and external pressure. To force them to provide some measure of transparency in the upcoming judicial process, and to actually win Toomaj's freedom, people must step up the campaign to get his name into new spheres and audiences. Spread the Open Letter "Don't Let Iran's Theocrats Take Fearless Rapper Toomaj Salehi from us" and our "Free Toomaj" Video and Resources page.

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Tear off the noose from around the neck of our youth and tear down the high gallows of death: Rise up!

December 12, 2022
Instagram @Narges_Mohammadi_51

A group of women political prisoners in Evin Prison published a letter calling to rise up in the streets against death sentences and executions, and announcing their sit-in at the office of the women's ward guard in Evin. This translation is by IEC volunteers. For full text in Farsi, see Narges Mohammadi's post or HRA-news.

Execution Must Stop!

We, the freedom-loving and egalitarian people of Iran, have joined forces in recent months to overthrow the dictatorial regime of the Islamic Republic, and we have risen up in our cities and villages, our streets and homes, at home and abroad.

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The government's brutal and widespread crackdown across the country has caused the spread of powerful street protests in recent days, and instead of retreating from street killings and repression, the government has pushed ahead and begun executions to spread fear. The execution of those who stood shoulder to shoulder in the streets. The execution of Mohsen Shekari as a street protester was a flagrant crime that stunned the world.

In keeping with the covenant in our hearts, in keeping with warm hands held together, in keeping with the cry rising from our chests, the pledge to not abandon them in our throats, let us not give up, let us rise up to save the lives of those in prison and stop the cycle of state murder. To tear off the noose from around the necks of our youth and to tear down the high gallows of death, rise up.

There is no other way! This time, let’s occupy the streets of the city with the cry of "Stop the executions" and continue the strikes with greater power and inclusiveness.

We are with you, although in prison, we have declared our solidarity with the street, from which we have been removed due to captivity. We will sit down on December 12 to express our opposition to the executions in the office of the guard officer of the Women's Ward of Evin Prison, singing the anthem and chanting slogans.



Asal Mohammady

Narges Mohammadi

Golrokh Iraei

Saba Kordafshari

Fariba Asadi

Zahra Safaee

Marzie Farsi

Parastoo Moeinee

Sepideh Gholian

Pooran Nazemi

Bahareh Hedayat

Zohreh Sarv

Golareh Abbasi

Nasrin Javadi

Farangin Mazloom

Zohre Davari

Elnaz Eslami

Zohreh Zeyvari

Toomaj Salehi charged with “Corruption on earth”

November 29, 2022

Still, after a month's isolation, dissident rapper and activist Toomaj Salehi is being denied family visits or representation by his family lawyer, so information on his case remains sparse. It has been confirmed that charges of spreading "corruption on earth" (!) have been filed, with no court proceedings yet.

Amir Raisian, a human rights lawyer selected by Toomaj Salehi’s family to defend the rapper, tweeted on November 28:

“Today, I went to the first branch of the Isfahan court to declare my representation in the case of my client, Toomaj Salehi, and registered the declaration of representation bill, but the head of the branch did not allow me to study and follow on up the case, contrary to the law. I reported to the Chief Justice of Isfahan province, and I hope this illegal procedure will be changed.”

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Iranwire reported:

“Iqbal Iqbali, Toomaj Salehi's uncle, told Iranwire that Toomaj's family has not been able to meet with Toomaj for the past month, and they do not know about his situation or even his health status following the torture he has suffered during his detention.

“Mr. Iqbali also announced that the relatives of this rap singer are very worried about their son’s condition, and the news of charges against him 'Corruption on earth' has been recently confirmed.

“On Saturday, November 26th, the Chief Justice of Isfahan [Asadollah Jafari] said that Toomaj Salehi, the protesting rap singer, is accused of corruption on earth.

"Jafari said that other accusations against Toomaj are as listed 'propaganda activity against the regime', 'formation and administration of illegal groups with the intention of disrupting the security of the country', 'collaborating with the government of a hostile state' and 'spreading lies and disturbing the public mind through social media' and 'inciting and encouraging people to commit violent acts'."

Whenever dissidents criticize or organize peacefully in Iran, they face spurious accusations of "collaborating" with US or Israeli espionage forces, even without the slightest evidence. All the other so-called accusations are simply fascist code words for supporting, organizing or informing about protests.

Share these Toomaj videos

In a campaign to bring Toomaj's brilliant lyrics and rhymes to an English-speaking audience, IEC volunteers put together an initial YouTube playlist of Toomaj's videos with English subtitles.

A video from the Toomaj International Page shows efforts in Amsterdam to spread the word broadly -- something we can all do! See our Resources page for palm card to print and post.

Toomaj Tortured, on Hunger Strike

November 19, 2022

Toomaj Salehi has been severely tortured and is on a hunger strike.

Akhbar-Rooz reports on November 19 that Toomaj is held in Ward A D of Isfahan Central Prison. Trying to force Toomaj to confess, security officials tortured him, and also broke 4 of his fingers.

He continues to resist and has been on hunger strike for six days.

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Mariam Claren interview on Iran Intl: Nahid Taghavi back in Evin

November 15, 2022

Translation to English by IEC volunteers:

Iran International:
We are joining with Mariam Claren, daughter of Nahid Taghavi, dual citizen prisoner in Iran, from Germany. Please let us know about the latest and what your mother is going through these days?

Greetings to you and your viewers. But before anything else, I would like to send my greetings to the courageous fighting people of Iran and declare my solidarity with them. As you just mentioned, my mom was on a medical furlough since July, for spinal injuries, and while she was getting medical care and treatments for her injury, we received the news that she had to go back to Evin Prison, despite the opinion of many specialist doctors indicating the need for her to complete her treatments.  Unfortunately, government medical and commission doctors have said that my mother should go back to prison, and this is an indication that the government medical and commissioned doctors pay no attention to the wellbeing of the patient. This was nothing but a political decision under the control of the authorities.  

..... [I]n the last two months 14,000 people have been arrested, and they are not all dual citizens, and it is very important that we must become the voice of all political prisoners and create public awareness and  pressure that could force governments and different entities to respond to that.

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PEN America Denounces Harsh Sentences, Torture for Iranian Artists and Writers in Custody

November 14, 2022

"The Iranian government is accelerating its repression of free speech and assembly in response to national protests, with a growing number of arrests and sentencing of writers and creative artists, many of them well-known voices of dissent, including blogger Hossein Ronaghi, and rappers Toomaj Salehi and Saman Yasin," said PEN America on November 11, 2022.

The Press Release notes: "Among the most urgent cases is blogger Hossein Ronaghi, who has been detained in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison since September 24 and has been undertaking a hunger strike for the past 50 days. The Voice of America Farsi service spoke with Hossein Ronaghi’s brother on Friday and reported that his condition has become grave because he has not had access to necessary medications for kidney disease, prostrate or bladder inflammation, or ulcers. This, along with his ongoing hunger strike, and two broken legs while in custody, has resulted in him vomiting blood continually. Without medical attention, it is feared he could suffer a stroke or heart attack." Ronaghi had already lost one kidney from torture in a previous imprisonment.

"Saman Yasin, a Kurdish rapper, was charged with “enmity against God,” a crime that carries the death sentence, in connection with his dissident views on October 29. Yasin writes songs with political themes, including about unemployment and government oppression, and has also supported the Mahsa (Jhina) Amini protests."

"Representatives of Toomaj Salehi confirm that he is being tortured and held in solitary confinement, and that family visitation rights are being denied."

Read full press release.

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Nahid Taghavi Forced Back to Evin Prison

November 13, 2022

"Despite not completing medical treatment but with her head held high, my mother Nahid Taghavi was forced to go back to Evin Prison on Sunday 13th November.

Nahid Taghavi was temporarily released on July 19th, 2022, on an urgently needed medical furlough. The German citizen had previously been arrested on October 16th, 2020, spent 7 months in solitary confinement and was interrogated by the Revolutionary Guards secret service for more than 1,000 hours without legal assistance. In August 2021, she was sentenced to 10 years in an unfair sham trial.

Nahid Taghavi is one of countless political prisoners in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Since the death of the Kurdish woman Mahsa Jina Amini in police custody and the ongoing revolutionary movement in Iran, the whole world has witnessed the reprisals of this inhuman regime. My family and I stand in solidarity with the Iranian people.

Woman. Life. Freedom. #MahsaAmini #FreeNahid"

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New Evidence Challenges Official Story on Evin Prison Fire - Prisoners Face More Danger

November 6, 2022

Heightened Dangers Demand Renewed Struggle to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners

 “That night, we were witnessing the prison turning into something like a war zone. The security and military forces had put the prison wards under siege from ground and from rooftops... Hundreds of rounds of bullets were fired and there were horrendous explosions... We could hear people who were around Evin [outside] Their chanting of slogans was reaching us. We were also screaming "Death to the Dictator", "Death toTyranny", "Murderer, Stop Murdering", "Despicable, StopStriking Prisoners"!”                                                             ~@Narges_Mohammadi_51, Instagram 

On Saturday October 15, a huge fire erupted in Evin Prison in Tehran, amidst sounds of gunfire and explosions.  Hundreds of prisoners’ family members and supporters gathered outside the notorious prison and in nearby streets, banging on the doors, chanting denunciations of the regime.  Highways and streets leading to the prison were choked with honking cars, which came under tear gas attack by regime forces.

When the dust settled early Sunday, parts of Evin had been reduced to  charred, burnt-out wreckage.  The regime claims eight prisoners died and 61were injured due to smoke inhalation. Families and news sources report greater casualties, which include the deaths of prisoners who were shot or severely beaten and/or denied adequate medical care.  

The Islamic regime’s state media continues to claim that the fire was unrelated to the ongoing protests rocking Iran.  It blames the prisoners, alleging that the fire was set by common (i.e. nonpolitical) prisoners in Ward 7 as part of a fight among them, which then spread to a large textile workshop and engulfed it in flames. The regime later claimed that security forces were reacting to a “premeditated” escape plan by prisoners.

Damning Evidence Comes to Light

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The full story of what happened that deadly night has not yet been pieced together.  However, in the weeks since the fire, damning evidence has emerged from many sources, including interviews with prisoners in Evin, investigations by Amnesty International, and an extensive forensic examination of audio and video footage by the Washington Post.

Photo of Evin Prison burning, and explosions

These reports poked holes in the Islamic regime’s story and point to the possibility that the fire, death and destruction were the result of a massive and pre-planned assault against the prisoners using the pretext of a “fight among common prisoners.” The regime’s goal may well have been to silence Iran’s courageous and influential political prisoners, including the many dual nationals, artists, intellectuals, and newly imprisoned protesters at Evin, but also to send a threatening message to protesters in the streets.

Amnesty International reported that the sounds of gunshots and screaming in Ward 7 could be heard by prisoners in neighboring wards as early as 8 p.m. and that “authorities sought to justify their bloody crackdown on prisoners under the guise of battling the fire.” The sewing workshop is typically closed around 5:00 PM after the evening head count.  Prisoners are then routinely locked in their cells, hours before the flames were first spotted around 10:00 PM.

Analysis of videos by The Washington Post’s forensic team confirmed that three people were filmed throwing what seemed to be flammable liquid on the roof over Ward 7, unimpeded by guards in their towers. They concluded that “findings are damning: At least one fire that night appears to have been started intentionally at a time when prisoners are locked in their cells. The most deadly fire erupted near the scene of the arson. As prisoners tried to flee the fire, guards and other security forces assaulted them with batons, live ammunition, metal pellets and explosives.”

Evidence of Planning and Preparations by Prison Authorities Before the Fire

• Three days before the fire, the ward’s fire extinguishers capsules were removed on orders of the head of the prison, with the excuse that they needed to be refilled.
• Several prisoners connected to Iran’s ruling figures were furloughed in the days before and until after the fire, such as Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani, the son of a former president. He was housed in Ward 7 and usually furloughed Wednesday through Friday.  He was sent home early, and told not to return until after Saturday October 15.
• On the day before the fire, prisoners reported seeing special 24-hour anti-riot guards being transported into Evin where they marched through the wards, banging on doors, chanting “God is great,”as snipers were positioned on the roof.  Some also reported that at noon on October 15, “The prison alarm sounded, which was unprecedented. We started seeing new batons and handcuffs coming in, and guards were placed on 24-hour watch. This was all in preparation for the crackdown.”

True Toll of Prisoners Killed or Injured is Still Unknown

Radio Zamaneh had broadcast this chilling account by one or more political prisoners:

“…Ward 7, which he claims held 1,700 to 1,800 prisoners that night, has been evacuated: ‘We have no idea where they took them.’  The source whose voice reached Zamaneh from Evin stated that the number of people killed from Ward 7 is very high, much more than that expressed by the narrative of the Islamic Republic.”
“One of the prisoners even said that some prisoners were being directly shot at. There was shooting towards the windows of the rooms. Yesterday, they came and removed the bullets from the pipes and the walls. The windows were completely shot out, it was a strange scene.”

It is likely that the toll could have been much higher had it not been for peoples’ immediate and massive resistance, both inside and outside the prison walls. Prisoners in Ward 8 and Ward 7 broke down the door between their wards to escape the smoke and try to help each other, all the while chanting slogans as they were being assaulted by guards.

As former political prisoner Atena Daemi tweeted, "I found out the [non-political] prisoners in Ward 7, who were always described as dangerous, when they managed to break their door, they went to Ward 8 to save the prisoners but were immediately shot at! [by guards].”

Prisoners in different wards kept up constant chanting, standing against the authorities’ attempts to massacre them under cover of “intra-prisoner conflicts.”  And the immediate mobilization of supporters outside the prison, plus the word of the outrage spread in real time on social media, focused considerable attention and condemnation on prison authorities.

Since late September, over 14,000 protesters have been arrested, many of whom have been sent to Evin.   This massive fire at Evin throws a spotlight on the growing danger to prisoners in Iran’s dungeons, especially its political prisoners.  

As noted, “The fire at one of Tehran’s most heavily guarded facilities potentially raises the stakes for those continuing to rally against the government and the mandatory wearing of the hijab, following the death of Mahsa Amini last month.”

All this highlights the need to continue to expose the recent fire and assault at Evin prison , and to answer the call from Burn the Cage/Free the Birds campaign in Europe, joined by the International Emergency Campaign based in the U.S., to broaden and deepen the struggle to free Iran’s political prisoners both inside Iran and worldwide.

Sources and Notes

Accounts from political prisoners:

·  Oct 23, 2022 Statement, cited by activists in Iran, is drawn from the Instagramaccount of rights activist Narges Mohammadi, with 133K followers.  She is imprisoned in the women’s ward in Evinbefore, during and since the fire.

·  Radio Zameneh,  Zameneh Media, A Report from Evin Prison: The Ministry of Intelligence has Taken Control Over the Prison in Efforts of Fabricating a Case”, Oct. 21, 2022. A Report on Evin's Wounded prisoners: "Get used to the pellets," Oct. 28, 2022 (

·  Interview with Atena Daemi, former political prisoner and human rights activist in Iran,  “Exclusive: Deadly Iran jail fire erupted as police clashed with inmates,”Reuters, October20, 2022.

·   “Cover Up, What Do We Know About Evin Prison Fire,” IranWire, October, 2022. According to their sources inside Evin prison, 11 of the prisoners injured in ward 8 are political prisoners. Theseinmates are: Mohammed Khani, Javad Sidi, Siros Qercha, Sephar Imam Juma, RezaQalandari, Mehdi Vafaei, MeysamDehbanzadeh, Ayoub Harari, Mehran Karimi, Yashar Tawhidi and Parsa Golshani.

 Investigative reports from major media:

·  Evin on fire: What really happened inside Iran’s most notorious prison, Washington Post,October 25, 2022;

·  “Iran: Tortured Prisoners at Evin Prison Are in Urgent Need of International Protection,” Amnesty International, October 18, 2022;

·   “Exclusive: Deadly Iran jail fire erupted as police clashed with inmates,” Reuters,October 20, 2022;

·   “Authorities said on Saturday that a prison workshop had been set on fire"after a fight among a number of prisoners convicted of financial crimes and theft".  Reuters, October 16,2022:

·  “Protest, Chants, a Riot and Gunshots: How a Prison Fire Unfolded in Iran,” New York Times, October 21, 2022.

·   "Death Toll Rises to 13 Following Fire and Riots at Evin Prison," IranWire,October 18.2022.


·  Originally built in 1972 by the Shah of Iran, a murderous US puppet, specifically to torture and punish political activists, Evin Prison was taken over and expanded by the Islamic Republic of Iran when it took power after the revolution which overthrew the Shah in 1979.Today the name of huge facility outside the capital, Tehran, is synonymous with torture and mass executions, and houses thousands of prisoners, including many political prisoners, as well as dual national prisoners. The prison, with its own execution yard and courtroom, abuts the foothills of the scenic Ablorz Mountains and well-to-do neighborhoods of Northern Tehran.

·  "Fire,Explosions and Gunshots at Iran’s Evin Prison - Prisoners’ Blood on Hands of the Islamic Republic,", October 17, 2022 and "Massacre at Evin Prison, in Iran update...Powerful Nationwide Resistance in Iran Continues in the Face of Murderous Government Repression,", October24, 2022

"We the relatives of Toomaj ask: be his and his friends’ voice for justice as he was your voice" #FreeToomaj

October 31, 2022

This letter from the uncle of Toomaj Salehi, beloved and fierce rebel rapper in Iran, is circulating widely in Persian social media. The translation is by IEC volunteers. #FreeToomaj

Toomaj, voice of Iranian people, their future and voice of the revolution of “Women, Life Freedom”

At 4:30 am (Iran's time) Toomaj reported some suspicious activities at where he is staying. His connection was immediately disconnected right after this report.

His neighbors informed us that Toomaj along with some of his friends, were arrested. After a few hours his photoshopped image was published in IRGC media.

He was arrested in Gardeh bisheh Bakhtiari while the IRGC media wrote that he was arrested in the West of Iran.

Toomaj and his friends are voices of masses of people and expression of their cry for justice from young  and old of oppressed people whose cry for revolution and a better world have been heard across the world.

We, the relatives of Toomaj Salehi are asking all Iranians, inside and outside of the country, to be his and his friends’ voice for justice as he was your voice.

We invite you to join in street actions in front of prisons and places of medieval torture chambers of Islamic regime demanding:

- We must impose the Immediate release of Toomaj and all political prisoners.

I declare that the Islamic government must chose:

1 -The Government must release all political prisoners of Iran and surround to the will of the people, in a none-violent manner and dissolve itself.

2 – Facing millions of citizens in the street actions and violent rebellion to overthrow the state.

There is no third option.

We declare that Islamic government has imposed this violent uprising and we are ready to pay with our life for the freedom of our citizens, society and our country and for this glorious revolution of “Women, Life, Freedom”

Eghbal Eghbali


Share this video about Toomaj from revolutionary Afghan musician Shekib Mosadeg:

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From Evin Prison - statement from courageous women prisoners: Start of Prison Strike

October 3, 2022

"In Evin's women's prison, surrounded by the fences and walls and behind the iron bars"

BBC Farsi broadcast a statement from a group of women prisoners who today, Monday, October 3, have begun a sit -in  " Evin's women's prison, surrounded by the fences and walls and behind the iron bars" against the "massacre and violence and widespread detention and torture of protesters" and in support of the ongoing strikes and gatherings in Iran."

It is difficult to hear people's cries of protest, from behind the high and cold walls of the prison, the bloodshed of the youth and students of our country and the arrests of the protesters, is hard as dying." "Our hearts, our cries and our fists are with the hearts and cries of the people every moment."

Narges Mohammadi, Alia Matalzadeh, Hasti Amiri, Zhila Makundi, Sepideh Kashani, Sepideh Qolian, Maleeha Jafari, Elnaz Eslami, Mahnaz Desha, Nazanin Mohammadnejad, Raha Asgarizadeh and Gelareh Abbasi have signed this statement.

These prisoners continued their announcement: "We eagerly hope that these walls will fall and when we get free, we will undoubtedly be in the middle of a strong and roaring wave of protests and shoulder to shoulder of the oppressed, fighting for women, for youth, for students, for students in university, for workers, for teachers, for dissidents, for relatives, for minorities, for the dead, and for the realization of freedom and justice, we will join the people of our land."

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Morad Tahbaz Conditionally Released; Amnesty Intl UK Demands Full Release for him and for still-imprisoned Mehran Raoof

August 1, 2022

On July 27, Iran released conservationist Morad Tahbaz on bail, monitored, according to his lawyer, by an electronic ankle bracelet. A UK-US-Iranian tri-national, Morad was arrested along with a large number of conservationists in 2018 on spurious national security charges. He was  sentenced to 10 years in prison.

In an article on July 27 in, Eilidh Macpherson, Amnesty International UK's Individuals at Risk Campaign Manager, said: "This is very encouraging news but we've been here before and we now need to see the UK pressing hard for Morad's full, unconditional release and permission for him to leave Iran along with his wife Vida."

She continued, "As well as Morad, Iran is still holding the British trade unionist Mehran Raoof behind bars on trumped-up charges – they both to be released as soon as possible."

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Nahid Taghavi leaves Evin Prison on Medical Furlough

July 19, 2022

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Narges Mohammadi Open Letter on Women's Activities for Freedom of Clothing

July 17, 2022

From @BurnTheCage, translated by IEC:

Narges Mohammadi, a human rights activist who is serving her sentence in Gharchak Varamin prison, wrote an open letter upholding the women's activities for the freedom of clothing and their opposition to the mandatory hijab she wrote: "Chief of the Judiciary has called women's efforts against the mandatory hijab, having the right to choose what to wear, an attempt to promote indecency, but they should know that the struggle of proud women in Iranian society is a righteous effort and a courageous struggle for their rights , not indecency."

In a part in her letter she discussed the restrictions created in Qarchak prison in Varamin just for women, just because they are women she stated that: "I have been imprisoned in a nowhere land called Qarchak penitentiary. In this prison, cucumbers, bananas and carrots are among the prohibited items because we are women and the shapes of these fruits are supposedly stimulating. Qarchak prison is a reflection of the institution of the government, which deprives women of even eating fruit because they are just women."

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Nahid Taghvi's continued deprivation of proper medical treatment in Evin Prison

July 3, 2022

The following news is a rough translation of this Farsi post from BurntThe Cage/Free the Birds.

Nahid Taghwi, a citizen of dual nationality imprisoned in Evin Prison, despite conducting an MRI test and confirmation of multiple herniated disc and hand carpal tunnel syndrome, was refused proper medical treatment and discharged to Dermaplan. Ms. Taghvi is receiving only home-based medicine despite needing specialist treatment for herniated discus. Maryam Claren, daughter of Nahid Taghvi, announced her mother's MRI test on Saturday, June 30. Based on this statement on Wednesday, July 1, the orthopedic surgeon diagnosed the carpal tunnel of the hand and multiple herniated discs. The issue is dangerously pressing on her vascular and nerve roots, he says. This dual-national citizen received only pain relief in transferring to Evin Prison on Monday, July 2, and again on Wednesday, July 2, she was treated with cortizone for carpal tunnel syndrome and her left hand was cast. #قفس_را_بسوزان_رها_کن_پرندگان_را Torture_prison_suppression #جمهوری_

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"Health Defender" lawyers, activists sentenced to years in prison

June 23, 2022

In a grotesquely unfair trial, three lawyers and two civil rights activists have been sentenced to up to 4 years in prison and suspensions from practicing law for intending to sue Iranian officials for negligent COVID-19 response.

Mustafa Nili, Arash Keykhosravi, Maryam Afrafaraz, Mohammad Reza Faghihi, Mehdi Mahmoudian

“These individuals are being punished in order to send a message to the people of Iran: Seeking an accountable government in the Islamic Republic will land you in jail,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

Read more at the Center for Human Rights in Iran.

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Narges Mohammadi: "There is no other way but to unite and protest"

June 1, 2022

Narges Mohammadi's statement, posted on Burn The Cage Instagram, translated by IEC.

Compatriot Abadani,

The collapse of the Metropolis Building has not only wounded your hearts and the hearts of the grieving families. It has left a wound on the lives of each and every one of us, like the wound of November 2019, like the wound left by the tragedy of the downing of the Ukrainian airliner and, and, and ...

The pain of this incident is not only the painful deaths of several innocent and hardworking people, but also the wounds of a dysfunctional, pompous tyranny, the wound of the plunder, looting, corruption and oppression of a government against people of all walks of life. Tyranny is destructive and knows no boundaries. The only way out is to protest, resist and unite against it.

The only way to survive is to protest, resist and unite against it.

From the corner of my place of exile in Qarchak [Prison], I send my support. My heart is with all of you dear ones (of Khuzestan). If I was out of this prison I would have been there and amplified your cry for justice.

The people are in sympathy with, will stand with Iran and Khuzestan.

Let us not leave them alone! In whatever ways, using whatever symbols, we should cry out against this oppression and not allow the protesters against this terrible tragedy in Abadan to be attacked and suppressed by the government. 

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New Wave of Arrests of Documentary Filmmakers Under Way in Iran

May 29, 2022

We want to let our readers know of this outrageous new attack on artists by the IRI.

On May 11, IranWire in English published a report on the arrests of documentary filmmakers.

On May 14, the award-winning filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof posted on Instagram a statement in defense of arrested filmmakers, signed by 57 figures in the field of film and cart.

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Unofficial translation of post by IEC:

"Once again, security agencies have stormed the residences and work of several filmmakers and began confiscating their personal and work supplies, questioning and arrests. ‎

"In all these years, not only widespread censorship, but also the involvement of security agencies in the field of cinema have brought the job security of filmmakers to the lowest possible level. the involvement of security agencies in the field of culture and art, economics and other matters while remaining out of their main duties and in a deviant move, activists have been investigated and harassed for critical attitudes. such a functioning of security agencies is clearly at the expense of national security and in contravention of freedom of expression and the rights of the nation. ‎

"We call for the release of all prisoners of opinion and the scope of culture and art, including documentary filmmakers."

Narges Mohammadi Rearrested, Twitter Trolls Attack Her and Taghi Rahmani

April 13, 2022

On April 12, police raided the home of Narges Mohammadi, who had announced that she would have to turn herself in because the Islamic Republic of Iran threatened to seize the home of her bail guarantor, after her medical furlough. Police arrested her to complete serving a new sentence of 30 months and 80 lashes for organizing a prisoner sit-in during her last prison stay.

Narges (left), Taghi Rahmani (right). Photos: IranWire

On April 6, the Washington Post published an opinion piece with an interview of Narges, which included her statement, “Economic sanctions, because they weren’t targeted or based on adequate knowledge of the state, weakened Iranians economically more than they weakened the Iranian regime...” She further clarified this position on Instagram. A storm of vitriolic attacks on Twitter ensued, from different positions but mostly personal slanders against her and her husband Taghi Rahmani, with little or no discussion of substance around the issues. Taghi Rahmani responded that attacks like this are a security game that the IRI foments and benefits from.

Read more on in English or Farsi.

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Narges Mohammadi: "I am on the sixth day of absence and rebellion against returning to prison"

March 30, 2022

Narges Mohammadi, VP of Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran, posted the following statement on Instagram March 17, 2022, in Farsi and English. See our Update on her November 2021 trial, which condemned her to 30 months in prison and 80 lashes. Narges was released with bail on medical furlough after heart surgery in February, and was recently ordered back to prison.

Update from CHRI, 3/23/22

I do not recognize the system of religious totalitarianism, anti-justice courts, anti-human rights laws, and repressive court rulings. I use any means of civil disobedience.

I have been sentenced to imprisonment and flogging in the last two courts. In the first case, because of the protest against the shameless attacks of the religious government officials on my body, and in the second case, because of my emphasis on the right of association and the right to organize, both of which are among the most fundamental human rights.

The sentencing of political, civil, and trade union activists by non-independent courts is not for the sake of justice but repression and intimidation of the society. We, the people, must stand against it not only to realize the “right” but also to fulfill our “duty” and show our authority in the face of the illegitimate government.

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I believe that the repressive government’s vulgarity and authoritarianism should be challenged by the exercise of even minimum levels of peaceful civil power. We must strengthen and demonstrate the legitimate authority and the people’s fundamental rights in the face of the illegitimate regime. Obviously, human rights-violating systems have no legitimacy due to the apparent “crimes against humanity” and do not deserve obedience and respect. In this regard, civil disobedience against anti-human orders and laws is a civil and peaceful movement.

I do not accept the verdicts against me, and now I am on the sixth day of absence and rebellion against returning to prison. Unfortunately, yesterday I received a letter about confiscating my guarantor’s property, which shows that the authoritarian regime does not shy away from any inhuman or illegal act. I will disobey the prosecutor’s order to return to prison as long as my rebellion and disobedience do not lead to the confiscation of my guarantor’s property.  #CivilDisobedience

Narges Mohammadi


نظام استبداد دینی، دادگاه های عدالت ستیز ، قوانین ضد حقوق بشری و آرا سرکوبگرانه دادگاه ها را به رسمیت نمی شناسم و از هر ابزاری برای نافرمانی مدنی استفاده می کنم.

در دو دادگاه اخیر به دلیل اعتراض به تعرض های بی شرمانه مردان حکومت دینی و در پرونده دوم به دلیل اصرار بر حق اجتماعات و حق داشتن تشکل که هر دو از اساسی ترین و بنیادی ترین حقوق مردم است، به زندان و شلاق محکوم شده ام. صدور آرا محکومیت علیه فعالان سیاسی و مدنی و صنفی توسط دادگاههای غیر مستقل، نه برای تحقق عدالت بلکه در راستای سرکوب و ارعاب جامعه است و ما مردم نه فقط در راستای احقاق “حق” بلکه برای ادای ” تکلیف” می بایست در مقابل آن سر خم نکنیم، بایستیم و اقتدار مردم را در مقابل قدرت نامشروع و قدرت بی پشتوانه مردمی حکومت، نشان دهیم.

بر این باورم که می بایست قدرت نمایی و اقتدار طلبی حکومت سرکوبگر را با اعمال حتی اندک قدرت مدنی ممکن و مسالمت آمیز به چالش کشید. مهم این است که اراده کنیم در مقابل اقتدار نامشروع حکومت، قدرت و اقتدار مشروع و حقوق اساسی مردم را تقویت کرده و نشان دهیم.

بدیهی است نظام های ناقض حقوق بشر به دلیل واضح و روشن ” جنایت علیه منزلت انسانی” حقانیتی نداشته و سزاوار تمکین و احترام نیستند و نافرمانی مدنی از فرامین و قوانین ضد انسانی، حرکتی مدنی، مسالت آمیز و به سوی صلح است.

آرا صادره علیه خود را نمی پذیرم و اکنون در ششمین روز غیبت و تمرد از بازگشت به زندان هستم و متاسفانه دیروز نامه ای مبنی بر توقیف اموال وثیقه گذارم را دریافت کرده ام که نشان از ضعف نهادی دارد که به جای تحقق عدالت به ستیز با آن بر پاست.

تا جایی که نافرمانی و تمرد و عدم تمکین از بازگشت به زندان موجب مصادره اموال وثیقه گذارم نگردد، از دستور دادستان برای بازگشت به زندان سرپیچی خواهم کرد

نافرمانی مدنی

نرگس محمدی


Dual Nationals Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori are free!

March 16, 2022

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Sepideh Gholian from Evin Prison: Say their names – Spread word of these women far and wide

March 14, 2022

In February, Sepideh Gholian sent a letter to the world from her cell in the women’s ward of Evin Prison. Currently her life hangs by a thread in an Evin Prison quarantine ward (see letter from her family.) See the latest IEC update on Sepideh.

The Farsi news site Akhbar-Rooz published the full text of her letter. Following is a translation by the IEC.

Sepideh Gholian

By way of introduction:

Torture, court corridors, solitary confinement and long journeys of deportation from one prison to another is the story of my life in recent years. The most painful moments, though, are the ones that caused despair and hopelessness for my loved ones and fellow prisoners. The suffering in Bushehr [a prison outside Tehran] suffering was so blatant that I could not see and live in this suffering without speaking out about it; Bari negotiated with the prison guard and Bari published a report on the “woman” situation in Bushehr Central Prison.

But I apologize for adding more pressure on my fellow prisoners in Bushehr prison, because I underwent the deceptive camera {{interview}} of the prison's organization and that inflicted more pain and disseminated more disappointment. I hope that the catastrophic conditions in Bushehr Prison will never again be inflicted on in any human being.

A prison deportee’s body fractures — and mine is now scattered from Tehran to Ahvaz and Bushehr, fragments of my existence left, there and there.

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In Sepidar [a prison in Ahvaz, Iran –ed.], I saw an Arab woman whose young son was killed by officers, denied her right to attend the funeral. Now, I only remember her scream: "God, you are not our God!" A cry unheeded in Sepidar, that at any moment can be heard from anyone else's mouth.

My mother, on our last visitation at Sepidar, brought bottles of milk and some other items for the unborn child of Elahe Dervishi. My mom said: "Sepideh! When she delivers her baby, it should be for you as if Tahora and Mehra [Sepideh’s brother and sister] were born." Becoming a mother means the birth of the new and a sign of hope, but becoming a mother in Sepidar is an exile to a desert full of despair at the end of the world. I stroked the belly of a goddess grown tired of slander and humiliation, filled with pain. [Devishi is the name of a goddess of Persian folklore –ed] She still did not know why, at the age of 18, such huge torment had been befallen her. I had yet to see Elahe’s son, who would be born Arabic-speaking, accused and convicted from the moment of birth.

But then my exile certificate arrived and I had to gather the pieces of my heart and and go to Bushehr carrying a world of heartache. I had to say goodbye to Mekieh, who was like my blood sister, Mekieh who had to repeat to interrogators the details of sexual intercourse with her husband. I later heard that she had been killed. When I left Sepidar, I became an exiled woman and remained in exile to this moment.

The days in exile were much longer. In exile, my bones were broken. They never allowed me to return to my homeland, Sepidar. They never let me be one with Sepidar.

I have put Haft Tapeh [where Sepideh was arrested covering the strike of sugar cane workers –ed.] in my eyes, the Arab people and Khuzestan in my heart in my heart. When I was deported to Bushehr, I saw a woman named Mahin Boland Krami. Mahin was a Kurd; she was like the mountains of her homeland, forgotten, sad and with many wounds on her body. Her head was rested on my legs and she was in pain till she died. She was killed simply because her tongue had spoken the truth.

Silence was no longer permissible nor possible. From childhood, I have spoken about the oppression I have seen. But the ongoing suffering in Bushehr prison was hard to believe, even for me who witnessed it. A woman called out from the crowd that it was time to find each other and hold each other’s hands. She was right. Standing on the edge of the abyss, I came back to life. You believed what I had witnessed. You stayed with us. We stayed together and you did not believe the cameras and the lies [referring to the interview the jailers forced her to give, which she recanted –ed].

The reasoning and evidence in the case was so obvious that even in the same courts of repression and blood, I was acquitted of the charge of spreading lies about Bushehr. A better way to put it is that each of us, who had found each other and held each other's hands, were acquitted.

From Evin:

Now I am a woman in love; very much in love. In addition to the fragrance of wood chips, the fragrance of sweets, I fall in love with the resistance of my beloved fellow prisoners. In the midst of the sufferings, a young and loving woman is doomed to pack again. Exile! The torture of going from one prison to another.

Today, I am again in love. Passion, dance and freedom have taken over my whole being, So I want to write to you about the sufferings of several other women, in hopes that you will remember not me, but these women, will speak of them and spread their names from one mouth to another, in hopes that one day, with their lovers, they may tell the story of their romances in their native languages, in neighborhoods that belong to them. Hope that we are happy at last. Let's dance and stand up in the four corners of Iran.

I. Maryam Haji Hosseini has been in prison for more than two years. Maryam is one of those who preferred the thirst of staying in her homeland to the temptation of leaving, hoping to have a part in development. She has told the officials that she is dissatisfied with the country's role in the world, so she stayed to do something about it. But the answer to this vision was to arrest Maryam and accuse her of spying for Israel. She was charged with “corruption on earth” and convicted and sentenced to execution.

She spent 412 days, that is, a year and a few months, in solitary confinement at a secret prison at the foot of the mountains. In an unknown place. Far away, with no word of her son Alireza. She has asked herself a thousand times why she hoped for the prosperity of a country that is so committed to the destruction of its sympathizers. After 412 days, she was transferred to the women's ward of Evin Prison on charges of corruption with a death sentence marked on her forehead.

Now, whenever any official arrives at the women's ward of Evin Prison, she requests for the thousandth time: “If there is a single shred of evidence proving my espionage, please execute me as soon as possible; I can no longer stand this scandal, please execute me.”

II. Niloufar Bayani has been in prison since she was 30 years old on charges of spying for the Mossad, the CIA, and any other institution that comes to mind of the Sepah [Army unit, in charge of these kinds of matters—ed]. She was a United Nations employee and a student at Columbia University. She has been held in solitary confinement for more than two years and is serving her fifth year in prison. During this time she was sometimes taken to the parking lot of empty apartments around the city, sometimes to a villa in Lavasan. The interrogator took Niloufar in these parking lots and empty villas to get her to confess to spying. She endured more than two years in solitary confinement and all kinds of tortures and psychological pressures.

When you think about it, the four pillars of your body tremble, everything starts to die and die and die, what you did and did not do and what you said and did not say become run together until you cannot tell what you are saying, whether it's a confession of espionage, or a confession to the murder of a supposedly living interrogator who is registering your confession to his own murder!

Niloufar, who has spent all her time and life loving nature, is now here and can only greet the fishes from a distance.

III. Nahid Taghavi, a dual citizen, came to Iran from Germany. She is a communist and longs for justice and freedom. But she was sentenced to 10 years and eight months in prison. Her child waits for her mother outside Iran. The mother does not have a visit, visitation rights, but does not raise an eyebrow. When she returns from her phone calls, she is so happy to have talked with her girl. Her daughter is worried about the prisoners. Worried about her mother's fellow prisoners. It seems that she also lives here in Evin Prison.

Her mother turns to me, her eyes bright with tears and excitement, and tells me that Maryam is no longer the same old Maryam. Now, her heart is in Evin. Her heart is with the people of Iran. Her heart beats for the freedom of Iran. Nahid was interrogated and tortured for months. She was given a medical furlough but that was taken away, which is itself is a case of torture. The reality of Nahid hugging her daughter, Maryam, is at the mercy of Iran-Germany relations! Nahid got Corona virus and was one of the few who did not receive medical leave. Nahid never cries unless a cellmate cries.

IV. Zohreh Sarv, a monarchist prisoner sentenced to seven years in prison. Zohreh was imprisoned in Qarchak for two whole years. Her release did not last more than two months, and she was re-arrested. A resilient and very sympathetic and kind woman. Zoher’s sick mother has no one but her and is waiting for her child to be released.

V. Shohreh (Leila) Gholikhani, a royalist/monarchist prisoner who has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison in absolute solitude. She has been presumed to be so lonely and helpless that they have seized all her assets, namely 21 million tomans of her mortgage equity have been taken away. God knows how much this woman mourned the loss of this money, her entire lifesavings. Only God knows.

VI. Glareh Abbasi has not spoken for a long time. She just screams, screams and in pain. Glareh has both rheumatism and osteoarthritis, suffers from spinal canal stenosis, and has five protruding lumbar discs. Add to this the pain of sciatica and heart failure, see what she has left but pain?

VII. Zahra Zehtabachi is the oldest female prisoner in Evin Prison. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison, of which 9 years have passed. Only once during this time has she been sent on leave due to coronavirus. Mina, her daughter, was 11 years old when Zahra was arrested. Zahra was interrogated in solitary confinement for more than a year after her arrest. During this time, her husband and older daughter, Narges, were also arrested and harassed. Zahra's father is one of the victims of the bloody massacre of political prisoners in the 1980s.

VIII. Sepideh Kashani has been sentenced to six years in prison. Like Niloufar, she has been accused of espionage and has been held in solitary confinement for more than two years under the most severe psychological pressure and torture. Sepideh and Hooman were classmates, companions, colleagues, in conversations, spouses, companions, fellow travelers, sympathizers, in the same groups, consonants, coordinators, like-minded people, and companions. Because of the hum caused by some people's illusion of "complicity," they are both caged and bound. But as long as the source of the flow of their vast cycle of "togetherness" is the source of life and nature, these illusions will be transient.

Sepideh Gholian

February 2022, Evin Prison Women's Ward

Read more on Sepideh.

Letter from Zeinab Jalalian on the occasion of March 8

March 12, 2022

Reprinted from Akhbar Rooz, March 10, 2022, translated by the IEC

Zeinab Jalalian, a Kurdish political prisoner sentenced to life in prison, wrote a letter on March 8 congratulating all women on International Women's Day and exposing the torture she faced at the Kermanshah Sepah/Army Intelligence Detention Center. The text of the letter is as follows.

Zeinab Jalalian

“With all my heart, I send March 8 congratulations to my patient mother, to the women who look forward to seeing their loved ones, and to the women of all the world.

When we look at the history, we see that throughout history, freedom-loving women have always fought against dictatorial regimes, and with their own blood, these brave women also wrote into history the 8th of March.

O oppressors, waiting and watching, when will you finally realize that you cannot stop our demand for justice by massacring, torturing and imprisoning us women? When a woman is born with freedom in her very being, no oppression can bring her to her knees.

I came to realize this when I was captured by the oppressors of the Islamic Republic. They tore apart my clothes on my body, shut my eyes, chained my hands and feet to an iron bed, and began torturing me terribly. They whipped me on the bottom of my feet, with a cable til my feet were terribly swollen and bruised. I was tortured so much that I could not feel anything anymore. My whole body was numb, I could no longer control my body, I had soaked my pants wet.

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Yes, it is a disgrace, but for whom: me or those who brought these calamities upon me? O awakened consciences, it is for you to judge who is guilty: me, the one with nothing but the desire for human freedom and equality, or those who tortured me so much for their own interests?! Judge for yourself, I am not as healthy as I was ten years ago and prison’s keys have tempered and polished my body. When the torturers were torturing me, all that was left for me was my thoughts and beliefs and my hope for women fighters and the future.

If I tell you that the pen is incapable of writing about my own suffering, I am not exaggerating, because I have only told you a small part of my torture. I hope my words have not saddened you on this precious day.

Sometimes I wonder where in the world I am, or what part of the history I am stuck in, that no matter how hard I try, I cannot find a way out. Is this what I deserve?! To witness the hanging of my compatriots and relatives and stay silent?! It is strangeWar, hatreds, hypocrisy, killing, murder and torture -- all are carried out as though it is ordinary, normal. And the oppressors justify each of their crimes - their justifications are the most painful part for me.

So, bold and determined women – shout what once was unspeakable! I do not wish death for anyone, not even the oppressors. But let us fight together against the oppressors, drive them out of our homeland. Let us not be ashamed tomorrow of remaining silent today, while women are losing their lives fighting for freedom and equality.

I am Zeinab, Zeinab Jalalian; A Kurdish woman who witnessed hundreds of crimes committed by the Islamic Republic in prison and witnessed accusations, insults, torture and, worst of all, the execution of ten of my fellow prisoners. Is there a greater pain than this?! Yet these oppressors want me to express my regrets! How can I express regret, regret for what? Regret that my eyes have seen their oppression and brutality? Believe me, whenever the oppressors increase their oppression and torture, I become bolder and more resilient."

No More IRI’s Murder of Political Prisoners by Medical Neglect!

March 6, 2022

Demand Medical Release for All Political Prisoners In Need of Urgent Attention and Care

Given the unusual historic times with war in Ukraine, and our receipt of an urgent cry from family members of Sepideh Gholian, our campaign felt the need to just issue this simple and real time alert on the dire situation facing Iran’s political prisoners. We are publishing her family’s letter at the top of this alert, followed by selected excerpts from various news/human rights sources.  

Numerous family members of political prisoners and organizations in defense of human rights and writers and journalists have been raising an urgent outcry about the Islamic Republic of Iran’s practice of deliberately killing off and taking vengeance on political prisoners by denying them medical treatment.

We call on you to join with us – raise your voices and actions, in demanding the release of prisoners in need of medical care, as well as our ongoing fight to free them all!

No more murder by medical neglect as happened to poet Baktash Aptin!

Below are a few prominent examples from recent news.

*An urgent letter from the family of Iran’s political prisoner Sepideh Gholian, (whose case is highlighted in the IEC’s Emergency Appeal).

"We want to explain the situation briefly and clearly: It is enough to say in one sentence that Sepideh Gholian's life is in imminent danger.

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Sepideh had contracted the virus after the Omicron variant when it spread in the women's ward of Evin Prison, but it has become more severe.. Sepideh's body has become  so weak and unstable due to the prison transfer, her hunger strikes, the constant pressures of the past few years, plus untreated underlying chronic diseases -- such that even a cold can overwhelm her.
The effects of Omicron have caused Sepideh's body to reject most water and food due to indigestion, and secondarily to excrete it all (resulting in dehydration). Her body temperature has not yet returned to normal, and her weakness, lethargy, and jaundice are evident even from a distance. Due to this situation, with the help of the lawyer of the case, Mr. Raisian, we applied for medical furlough, which must be the right of a prisoner with a dangerous health condition. After much effort and insistence, the trial judge, while claiming  she had crossed a red line with her previous furlough, and was not entitled to another furlough, -- finally did agree to sign the form for her  medical release.

BUT the marathon continues -- from finding money for her bail to finding an expert and going through the paper work for her medical release.   Everything possible was done but at the last minute they said they would not give her medical leave. Simply put, Sepideh and the family's hopes were taken hostage by the judiciary so that they could show that they were firmly in charge and in power.
Powerful people who consider her revelations of torture and harassment of women in Bushehr prison as Sepideh having crossed a red line, they are using their power to destroy Sepideh's life in their prison.  
On the eve of International Women's Day, our Sepideh's life is still in danger."

* Denial of Medical Treatment for Ailing Political Prisoners in Iran Aimed at Crushing Dissent - excerpted from Center for Human Rights in Iran, March 3, 2022

“The continued denial of proper medical treatment to ailing political and civil rights activists in Iran is setting the stage for deliberate crimes against the many political prisoners in the country, including Sepideh Qoliyan, Soheila Hejab, Zeinab Jalalian, Arsham (Mahmoud) Rezaee, and Abbas Vahedian Shahroudi.

Fears for the lives of the activists are heightened by the fact that at least two political prisoners have already perished in Iranian state custody in the first few months of 2022 after being denied urgently required medical treatment: Baktash Abtin and Adel Kianpour.”

* Prominent Blogger Seved Hossein Ronaghi Maleki's Life In Danger -  excerpted from Committee to Protect Journalists, February, 2022

Freelance blogger and freedom of expression activist, Seved Hossein Ronaghi Malekim was arrested in Iran after critical tweets February 24, 2022. . . The blogger was reportedly taken to Evin prison where he immediately went on a dry hunger strike (no food or liquid).  “Hossein’s life is at risk because he suffers from several health conditions including kidney, lungs, blood, and digestive issues and we don’t know if the kidnappers will give him his medicine. ” His current status is unknown.  

* Two Elderly Dual Nationals Among Five Sentenced to Prison in Iran, excerpted from Center for Human Right in Iran, August 4, 2021

Elderly dual national prisoners Mehran Raoof, 66, and Nahid Taghavi, 64, were among five prisoners held on trumped-up charges who were sentenced to jail…as Iran’s overcrowded prisons remain rife with risk, with new COVID-19 infections continuing to shatter records throughout the country. “To condemn two peaceful, elderly people to prison under sham charges at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is raging throughout the country reveals the cruelty of the Iranian judicial system,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“These sentences indicate that the Iranian security establishment isn’t content with unlawfully harassing, jailing, and muzzling people, it also wants to endanger their lives,” he added. Covid continues to rage and kill in Iran’s prisons.  

* On March 1, 2022 #freeNahid organizer Mariam Claren launched a social media campaign to mark her mother’s 500th day of imprisonment.

These two cases were also highlighted in the Emergency Appeal that says

“Nahid Taghavi, rights activist, retired architect, and Iranian-German citizen, suffers from diabetes and hypertension. Her daughter Mariam Claren reports that her mother was kept in solitary confinement for 151 days, and was interrogated 80 different times for a total of 1,000 hours during her first 147 days of imprisonment.  Mehran Raoof, a British-Iranian citizen and labor rights activist, is “being held in prolonged solitary confinement,” according to AI.  Raoof was released from solitary confinement on June 12 but his health and safety has not been verified.”

International Outcry for Medical Furlough

All the international outcry had likely played a significant role in winning the recent medical furlough for Nasrin Sotoudeh, Narges Mohammadi and others, as well as the permanent release of Atena Daemi.  

We call on all people of conscience who finds this situation intolerable to not only sign, circulate but donate and help us publish the Emergency Appeal in campus, community, social, cultural and political publications. The Emergency Appeal is now available in six different languages available on our website. Do write us with your questions and efforts

Sepideh Gholian Seriously Ill in Prison

February 28, 2022
Painting of Sepideh Gholian in the Clarion Alley Mural, San Francisco, CA

"Sepideh Gholian, a young civil rights activist jailed twice for her peaceful defense of Haft Tappeh Sugar Factory workers, has contracted Covid-19 in Evin Prison.

"According to news sources inside Iran, the prisoner of conscience has been unwell for more than two weeks, suffering from a fever, body aches and vomiting. She has also experienced diarrhea, vomiting, kidney pain and intestinal bleeding.

"After testing positive for Covid-19, Gholian was transferred to the prison quarantine ward but has yet to receive treatment. She was previously taken to hospital and underwent tests that concluded she needed surgery. Her family have repeatedly requested she be given medical leave, which has so far been denied."

Reported on IranWire.


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Narges Mohammadi hospitalized

February 19, 2022

Update: Narges Mohammadi was released on medical furlough after heart surgery, showing once again the potential of mass international outcry to pressure the IRI.

Taghi Rahmani, the husband of Narges Mohammadi, wrote on social networks this week (unofficial translation by IEC):

As of Wednesday, Narges Mohammadi suffers from severe respiratory problems. She was transferred to the hospital twice Thursday, a second time was diagnosed with a severe cardiovascular congestion, which is about 50 percent. Today Friday she had heart surgery.

But Qarchak prison is not a suitable place for any imprisoned patient. Because Qarchak prison is also a disease spreader even for a prisoner that is not sick." He has no exact information about Narges' situation and called her transfer to Qarchak "revenge".

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On February 14, Taghi Rahmani quoted Narges as saying, “In Qarchak prison, we are denied the basic needs of a human being, namely the right to breathe clean air and drink potable water." “When I arrived, I was put in solitary confinement. The water was so bad that I couldn't drink it. I was forced to drink tea, which made me feel nauseous and vomit. In prison, the same water is used for everything.”

RSF (Reporters Without Borders) reports that Qarchak, notorious for its appalling hygiene, currently holds at least 1,200 women. The latest Covid-19 wave has exacerbated the situation even more and has increased the risks for vulnerable prisoners. Mohammadi reported via her husband, “Those who test positive are quarantined in the prison gym, which is unheated and has no beds, without receiving any special care.”

The prison’s sewers emit not only an “unbearably” nauseating stench but also ammonia and another type of gas that cause respiratory problems among the detainees.

Be the voice of Narges Mohammadi: video

February 2, 2022

IEC translation:

Narges Mohammadi, Iranian human rights activist, member of the Supreme Supervisory Council and the spokesperson of the Defenders of Human Rights Association was born on April 21, 1972. This human rights activist who is currently serving a 30-month prison sentence in Qarchak prison in Varamin, was convicted in a new case by the revolutionary court to 8 years and 2 months in prison, 74 lashes and deprivations of her socio-political activities. The European Union has condemned the sentence issued to her and stated that it wants Iran to fulfill its human rights obligations, adhere to international law and due to her deteriorating health condition, release her immediately.

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Hunger striking prisoners severely beaten at Greater Tehran Prison

January 28, 2022
update from Soheil Arabi

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Statement of Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike, from Evin Prison

January 23, 2022

The following is the IEC’s translation of an audio message from political prisoners now on hunger strike inside Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.  It was conveyed to supporters in Iran who recorded it, produced the video below, and are circulating it internationally with the hashtag #ChainHungerStrike.

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Although I have been dead for a hundred years,
I will stand at my grave
To take the heart out of the devil’s body,
By my fiery cry!

Only a day after the death of Baktash Abtin, a wave of support and an outcry for justice has begun for him and other prisoners killed in Iran.

The transfer of prisoners and their abduction to unknown places in order to break this solidarity continues, but solidarity with our hunger strike continues in Iran and abroad.

Hunger strikers Hamid Haj Jafar Kashani and Mahmoud Ali Naghi as well as Mohammad Abolhassani have been transferred to the Greater Tehran Prison.

We just found out that political activist and journalist Keyvan Samimi was transferred from Ward 4 of Hall 1 in the middle of the night on Thursday, January 20, without any prior notice.  He was inhumanly and forcefully beaten and threatened, according to his cellmates, in a brutal physical assault by guards who tore his clothing off.  He was then transferred to Ghezel Hesar (Golden Cage) Prison.

Keyvan Samimi is a political activist and journalist who has been arrested many times in previous years, before and after the revolution, and spent years in prison, for publishing exposures of the government in newspapers and magazines.

Because of the regime’s fear of unity and solidarity among prisoners, active prisoners are deported to other prisons. After the torture and killing of Sattar Beheshti in prison, the regime was forced to apologize and expel the entity’s police chief and the head of Evin prison.  The regime has never again accepted any responsibility for the killing of political activists in prison. The regime declares that all of them died of illnesses.

However, if prisoners who were ill had been taken to the hospital on time, these catastrophes could have been prevented.  The question has arisen, why is it only these political prisoners who are so easily killed in prison? Therefore, we felt that to enlighten the public that the political prisoners are on a hunger strike, starting after the death of Baktash Abtin, to communicate to the outside world in hopes of preventing the deaths and transfers of prisoners who are on hunger strike in Tehran and Evin prisons and other prisons throughout the country.

Statement by Political Prisoners Mohammad Abolhassani, Sina Beheshti, Hamid Kashani, Mohammad Turkman, Mahmoud Ali Naghi, Hossein Qashqaei, Reza Salavati, Milad Arsanjani, Shahab Soltanian, Mehran Delfan Azari, and Akbar Faraji

PEN America: In Memory of Baktash Abtin

January 20, 2022

PEN America today posted this video commemorating its 2021 honoree, writer Baktash Abtin, who died Jan 8 of COVID-19 after prison officials refused for days to treat him, only sending him to a hospital when fellow prisoners created a ruckus that he was dying.

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Heidar Ghorbani Executed; Crowds Protest

December 20, 2021
AVA Today tweeted photos of crowds protesting Ghorbani's execution

On December 19, 2021, the IRI secretly carried out the execution by hanging of ethnic Kurd, Heidar Ghorbani, despite international outcry against his torture and sham trial.

BBC reported: "In a rare public display of defiance in Iran, protesters have shouted anti-government slogans outside the home of a Kurdish man who has been executed. Crowds gathered in Heidar Ghorbani's hometown of Kamyaran, in Kurdistan province, calling him a martyr."

During his 2016 trial for murder, armed rebellion, and membership in the banned Kurdish Democratic Party, no evidence was presented other than a false confession under torture.

Neither his family nor his lawyer were alerted prior to the execution. When Heidar's brother protested, he was arrested.

Heidar's father was executed in 1981.

Ghorbani was 47. Circulating on social media is a photo said to depict Heidar at 7 years old with his grandfather at the grave of Heidar's father, who was executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1981.

The IEC honors the memory of this hero of the people and vows to give urgency to our struggle to free Iran's political prisoners NOW.

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Baktash Abtin Hospitalized with Covid-19: PEN Demands His Release

December 16, 2021
Baktash Abtin

On December 9, 2021, the writer Baktash Abtin, serving a 6-year sentence for his participation in the banned Iranian Writers Association, was hospitalized with severe COVID-19 after fellow prisoners demanded it.

PEN America urgently demanded Abtin's release. This year PEN honored jailed writers Baktash Abtin, Kevyan Bajan, and Reza Khandan Mahabadi with its 2021 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award.

IranWire reported a phone conversation with a political prisoner in Evin:

"Baktash has several underlying conditions and has been taken to hospital twice [before] for chronic pain, weight loss, and high blood pressure. These underlying issues have made his condition worse than that of other prisoners infected with virus. Some of his friends and I, after seeing his yellow face and his constantly falling unconscious, shouted and caused a ruckus so his interrogator would have to agree to transfer him. Any doctor with a conscience would order the release of prisoners and a cleanse of the wards.

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Arash Ganji on his way to Evin: "My heart is stronger than ever"

November 3, 2021

On Nov. 1, on his way into Evin Prison, Arash Ganji read an uplifting message to supporters. Here is a rough translation:

Dear comrades, in these last minutes of departure, I am not sure if I have fallen into tragedy or fortune/comedy: This morning I found out that it is a 1st of November, the day of the victory of Kobani (Kurdish group) and the definite defeat of ISIS. I am falling in that comedy because under shadow of the anniversary of that great victory, I am heading to prison, and tragedy because with the utmost happiness in my little heart I must start my prison sentence.

I assure you that my heart is stronger than ever, and I will start to celebrate, my celebration inside my heart, sincerely thankful of all comrades, especially comrades of the Iranian Writers Association for everything including sending me off here. The endless support of the comrades of the association during all this time and international solidarity of all writers has warmed mine and my family's hearts. And all of these keep reminding me that I am never alone. I appreciate your presence, long live the Iranian Writers Association.  And I present all the carnations of the world to you.

Watch the video in Farsi on YouTube.

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Arash Ganji summoned to serve 11 years sentence for translating a book

October 29, 2021

Writer and translator Arash Ganji has been summoned to serve a minimum of 5 years of an outrageous 11-year prison sentence. As our Emergency Appeal states:

"The Iranian Writers Association (IWA) has denounced the execution of prisoners of conscience, even as it is under extreme repression. Several members are imprisoned, including Arash Ganji, sentenced to 11 years for translating a book on the Kurdish struggle in Syria."

Ganji was arrested in 2019 in connection with his 2017 Farsi translation of A Small Key Can Open A Big Door: The Rojava Revolution, a collection of articles by different authors about Kurds in the Syrian civil war, and detained and interrogated in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin Prison, upheld by an appeals court in February 2021.

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Ganji was sentenced to 5 years for “conspiracy to act against national security,” 5 years for “membership and cooperation with an anti-regime group,” and one year for “propaganda against the regime”,

Karin Deutsch Karlekar, director of Free Expression at Risk Programs at PEN America, stated: “From the start of this investigation, the Iranian government has been targeting Ganji with the baseless claim that his translation of a book poses a threat to national security. His wildly disproportionate sentence and imminent imprisonment are part of a broader pattern of legal harassment against writers in Iran, the latest blatant miscarriage of justice as authorities continue to lock up the literary community. Furthermore, Ganji suffers from serious health conditions likely to be dangerously exacerbated in prison."

ALERT: Dangerous Development re Iranian Political Prisoner Sepideh Gholian

October 18, 2021

There has been an important dangerous development in the case of Iranian political prisoner Sepideh Gholian.  According to recent news reports, on Monday, October 11, thirty plainclothes Islamic Republic goons stormed her sister’s home, where she was staying during a medical leave, and brutally arrested and removed the 26-year-old Sepideh.  The police goons also confiscated the cell phones of everyone in her family.

Sepideh’s incredibly heroic story, including a 19 segment prison diary, is available in English and فارسی (Farsi) on the website IranWire. This includes the moving cry and challenge for the world to fight for all of Iran’s political prisoners that Sepideh issued in late 2019 when she was 23 years old.  It says in part:

You hear my voice from Iran. You hear my voice from among 1,500 innocent women prisoners of Gharchak prison. You hear my voice from among a throng of unknown women who are in prison on baseless charges. You hear my voice as a representative of women who live under injustice, whips and brutality. Gender discrimination has broken their backs and they have no way to freedom. Listen to my voice and listen good!

Stay tuned:  the International Emergency Campaign (IEC) wil report more fully on her situation in coming days at this website.

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Her case was referenced in our Emergency Appeal as an example of prisoners’ lives that are hanging in the balance and why we must act now with urgency:

Women prisoners are increasingly transferred to more remote prisons, limiting access by their family and lawyers. They include: Sepideh Gholian, a freelance journalist arrested for reporting and allegedly taking part in labor strikes. In early March 2021, she was suddenly transferred in chains from Tehran's Evin Prison to Bushehr Prison in southern Iran, more than 373 miles from her parents.

Human Rights Lawyers, Activist to be Illegally Tried

October 13, 2021
Nili, Keykhosravi, Mahmoudian Photo @ICHRI

Lastest news: On October 13, the scheduled trial was postponed for Iranian defense lawyers Mostafa Nili and Arash Keykhosravi and civil rights activist Mehdi Mahmoudian (all three still detained after 23 days in solitary confinement while denied access to legal counsel and phone calls), along with Mohammad Reza Faghihi (lawyer), and Maryam Afrafaraz (civil activist), who are free on bail.

Their legal teams have been denied access to their case files, because “the state fears these courageous individuals,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran. “It wants to strip them of their power because they are the last lifeline of those targeted by the state for peaceful dissent.”

In response to their upcoming trial, Nili, Keykhosravi and Mahmoudian wrote a joint letter to the Central Supervisory Board on Proper Enforcement of the Law and Respect for Legitimate Freedoms and Protection of Citizens’ Rights detailing their unlawful arrest and detention and illegal raids on their homes.

"They continued to hold us under extraordinary and illegal conditions to put more pressure on us and to intimidate and terrorize the public,” the letter denounced.

“During solitary confinement inside the judiciary’s security ward we were subjected to psychological pressure only because on August 14, 2021, we refused to sign a pledge not to file a lawsuit against the supreme leader and other judicial and government officials."

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Kayhan Life article quotes from press conference

September 23, 2021
Kayhan Life captured this tweet from @IranPrisonEmerg

This well-researched article, which covers latest efforts at UN to free British dual nationals and UN Human Rights meeting in Geneva, spotlights the 9-21-21 Press Conference and Speak-Out in front of UN by our Campaign.

It quotes from the Appeal to the UN from the daughter of Nahid Taghavi, read at the conference, and interviews her about conditions of women prisoners, especially COVID infections. Also interviewed: family members of other British-Iranian dual nationals Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori.

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Heidar Ghorbani's Death Sentence Upheld

August 20, 2021

From Burn_The_Cage:

Heidar Ghorbani, a Kurdish political prisoner, is in danger of execution. He was sentenced to death on charges of "armed insurrection against the regime."

Amnesty International has called for the immediate revocation of his death sentence, citing the torture of Heidar Ghorbani, a Kurdish political prisoner, to obtain a forced "confession", presented as evidence against him.

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2 Letters from Burn the Cage Free the Birds Movement

August 13, 2021

We received the following two letters from Burn the Cage/Free The Birds movement to the International Emergency Campaign. These are unofficial translations, edited slightly for clarity, of statements posted on burn_the_cage Instagram a few days after the sham verdicts issued by Branch 26 of Iran’s Islamic court to several other political defendants,

We want to share these with our readers now, and urge everyone to closely follow further developments in this high stakes case for the people.

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Below, we are reprinting letters from Mohammad Hajinia and Nafiseh Malekijoo.  They are both defendants in the same Branch 26 court case as the others listed in their letters.  Both of them are not inside Iran at this time, but both were convicted and sentenced in absentia. Mohammad Hajinia is a student studying and living outside of Iran, and Malekijoo left Iran before the recent sentencing. The following are their statements:

"I, Mohammad Hajinia, is studying abroad. I recently woke up one morning and found out that I had been sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison by Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Tehran.  This sentence was issued along with [the sentences of] seven other political defendants named Nahid Taghavi, Mehran Raouf, Somayeh Kargar, Bahareh Soleimani, Nazanin Mohammadnejad, Elham Samimi and Nafiseh Malekijoo.

I was not in Iran at the time of the security forces' raid on the homes of the seven. I was not in Iran during their arrests, their solitary confinements and lengthy interrogations, and finally during their trial and sentencing. I was not even aware I was accused.

But before this, I had the good fortune to meet, talk, discuss and be friends with some of the defendants in this case. Our occasional interaction was an intellectual, friendly and fruitful one. We now know that they have been sentenced to prison and put in long solitary confinement because of their thoughts and opinions....The arrest and conviction of these people and all those who are in prison because of their thoughts and ideas is deeply reactionary and unjust and should be condemned.

According to the indictment, I was charged with "participating in the administration of the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) in order to disrupt security and propaganda activities against the holy system of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Without being present and without even having information about my indictment and the process of my case, I have been sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison. Such cases and empty verdicts are not new. They are repetitions of the "death commission" themes that are played daily. We are familiar with it, but we are not accustomed to it.  We will not get used to it. "                                                            

Mohammad Hajinia August 6, 2021

“I am Nafiseh Malekijoo. According to Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary court, I was sentenced along with seven other political prisoners, Nahid Taghavi, Mehran Raouf, Somayeh Kargar, Bahareh Soleimani, Mohammad Hajinia, Nazianin Mohammadnejad and Elham Samimi. I was indicted in absentia.

On the evening of October 25, 2020…the security forces attacked my house with an insidious trick that surprised me.  Then they forced their way into the house and they beat me mercilessly.  They had come to inspect the house, and at first they were one man and one woman but their numbers gradually increased. I do not remember exactly how many there were. They were moving back and forth, curiously watching everything and my every move, sort of my life was under their magnifying glass….

They confiscated my handwritten notebooks, my communications tools, and my identification documents including my passport ... They came to inspect the house and said "You are just a defendant!"  But reality said it was my house, with its doors and walls that held my memories, my friends, my loved ones.

I was suddenly summoned for a night interrogation, in my own space….After the house was searched, the security forces told me to show up at a place that was not a judicial center, one of their "safe houses" a few days later.  But I did not go.  I was forced to exile myself [from Iran]. I lived in hiding for months and swallowed my fiery anger at our situation, alone.  I waited for a written summons, and my written summons was issued at a time when I had dared to bite the bullet and was ready to leave everything behind with all my regrets. I left….

I knew politically that I would make the news of this trial in absentia and declare the trials of all my co-defendants illegal and inhumane.  I was sentenced to a total of six years and nine months in prison "for membership in the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist, Leninist,Maoist) in order to disrupt security and propagate against the holy order of the Islamic Republic of Iran."  In addition, it goes without saying that the manner in which I was tried in absentia without access to an indictment, a lawyer, etc., shows the injustice and cruelty of the Iranian judicial system and the entire Islamic Republic.

The people involved in this [court] case have been sentenced to imprisonment with reactionary trials in unjust…terms.  I condemn the government from afar with my own voice.  

I have always stood with my co-defendants when they were in long-term solitary confinement, when they were being prosecuted, and when their temporary detention was illegally extended. Now that there is no need to explain it, I did not hesitate to sympathize with them.  I did not know all of them, but some of them have enriched my mind enough that for the rest of my life, I will not forget what the Islamic Republic did and is doing with "us."  And of course I will not forget the loud and pleasant voices we can have to raise up again and again.  Let's shout for liberation.

For the release of all political prisoners,

Nafiseh Malekijoo, August 10, 2021

CHRI: Two Elderly Dual Nationals among five sentenced to prison in Iran

August 4, 2021

August 4, 2021 – Elderly dual national prisoners Mehran Raoof, 66, and Nahid Taghavi, 64, were among five prisoners held on trumped-up charges who were sentenced to jail in Iran today. The sentences come as Iran’s overcrowded prisons remain rife with risk, with new COVID-19 infections continuing to shatter records throughout the country.

“To condemn two peaceful, elderly people to prison under sham charges at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is raging throughout the country reveals the cruelty of the Iranian judicial system,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“These sentences indicate that the Iranian security establishment isn’t content with unlawfully harassing, jailing, and muzzling people, it also wants to endanger their lives,” he added.

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Atena Daemi to Khuzestan: I am by your side

July 31, 2021

Imprisoned civil rights activist Atena Daemi has joined the chorus of groups and individuals in Iran who are expressing solidarity with protesters in Khuzestan Province and beyond.

Here's an excerpt from her letter from prison, google-translated.

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Khuzestan: Fears Grow of Massive Carnage as Authorities Repeat Deadly Repression of 2019 Protests

July 23, 2021
Amnesty Intl photo

With security forces in Iran attacking and killing protesters in Khuzestan Province, the Iranian authorities are once again demonstrating complete disregard for the law, life, and all international standards of policing, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement today. New Amnesty Report highlights use of live ammunition, killings in drought-ridden province

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CHRI: Rising COVID Infections, Unhygienic Conditions Raise Fears of More Deaths in Iranian Prisons

July 22, 2021

The start of a fifth COVID-19 wave in Iran, amidst national water and electricity shortages and unhygienic prison conditions, has greatly increased the risks of outbreaks among prisoners, some of whom have died and a growing number of whom are testing positive for the virus.  

In an audio message recorded in Tehran’s Evin Prison and shared on Twitter on July 17, 2021, Aliyeh Motallebzadeh, a women’s rights activist, said the authorities were doing nothing to ensure prisoners’ safety. “The deputy prison director came by and I told him, ‘It looks like you have thrown the prisoners behind closed doors so they could all die together,’” said Motallebzadeh in the message.  

“Very casually he replied,‘It’s the same outside. People are dying outside, too. There’s no difference.You die, too.’ "

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HRANA: Head of the Prisons Organization claims Baktash Abtin’s jailers have been arrested

July 22, 2021
Baktash Abtin shackled to hospital bed

According to the HRANA, the news organ of the Iranian Association of Human Rights Activists, Mohammad Mehdi Haj Mohammadi, the head of the Prisons Organization, reported dealing with those who had tied Baktash Abtin to a hospital bed.

Earlier, pictures of Baktash Abtin, a member of the Iran Writers' Association, shackled to the bed of the Martyrs of Tajrish Hospital had been posted online.  Mr. Abtin, who has been serving a 6-year sentence in Evin Prison since September of last year, was transferred from Evin Prison to Tajrish Martyrs Hospital on Sunday, July 18, following severe pain in the testicle area and the diagnosis and recommendation of the prison's medical doctor. He was kept shackled to the in bed for duration of the hospital treatment. His doctor diagnosed that Mr. Abtin suffers from a cyst in the testicular area.

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Sepideh Gholiyan and Mahboubeh Rezaei severely beaten In Bushehr Prison

July 20, 2021

On Tuesday, July 20, civil activist Sepideh Gholiyan and political prisoner Mahboubeh Rezaei were severely beaten in Bushehr Prison by prisoners accused of violent crimes in front of prison officials. It is said that the incident happened at the instigation of the head of the women’s ward of the prison, Fatemeh Aliverdi.

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Activists Arrested after Tehran Rally in Support of Protesters in Khuzestan

July 20, 2021

On Tuesday, July 20, civil activists Narges Mohammadi, Arash Sadeghi, Arash Kaykhosravi, Ruhollah Mardani, Jafar Azimzadeh, Rasoul Bodaghi, Pouran Nazemi, Hamid Asefi, and Behzad Homayouni, were released from custody a couple of hours after their arrest.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the activists were beaten and arrested while marching in support of the people of Khuzestan.

Before their arrest, they had said in a video that a number of them had been beaten in front of the Interior Ministry by military forces.

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Iranian Judiciary Assumes Sweeping New Powers Over Lawyers

July 12, 2021

Due Process and Fair Trial Rights Dealt Further Blow by New Legislation

July 12, 2021—In a sweeping grab of new powers over the Iranian Bar Association (IBA) that grants the Iranian judiciary the right to issue and revoke law licenses, the country’s judicial establishment, now led by human rights violator Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei, has effectively destroyed the independence of Iranian lawyers.

The new regulations, which render meaningless the right to due process and a fair trial, should be strongly condemned by lawyers, human rights groups, and the international community, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement today.

“The ongoing state policy of undermining Iran’s independent bar association and its lawyers is eliminating the right to due process when Iranians need it the most,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran.

“Human rights lawyers are a lifeline for citizens relentlessly and unlawfully targeted by the state, and the Iranian government expects the world to look the other way while it cuts this lifeline,” said Ghaemi.

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Narges Mohammadi Attacked and Threatened Twice in Past Week by State Agents

June 17, 2021

Excerpt from  June 17 Press Release ~ Center for Human Rights in Iran:

Iran Should Stop Assaulting, Threatening Peaceful Activists

Iranian authorities should stop physically assaulting, harassing and threatening peaceful activists in Iran, including the prominent rights defender Narges Mohammadi, who told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that she fears for her life after being twice violently confronted by unidentified state security agents in less than a week.

“I am extremely worried for my life,” Mohammadi told CHRI on June 17, 2021. “In a matter of a few days, unknown assailants who do not identify themselves have attacked and threatened me.”

“They have told me to stop my activities because it ‘harms the interests of the Islamic Republic,’” she added. “I am a human rights defender and have not broken any laws.” Photographs received by CHRI show large bruises on Mohammadi’s body.

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CHRI calls on the Iranian authorities to cease trying to muzzle free speech and expression and allow peaceful activism without the threat of violence, imprisonment or death. CHRI urges the international community to speak out against this unlawful state violence, and to monitor the human rights situation in Iran with heightened vigilance ahead of a sham election, scheduled for June 18, 2021, that could bring Ebrahim Raisi, a man guilty of crimes against humanity, to power.

Mohammadi and Mothers of Killed Protesters Violently Confronted in Shiraz

Mohammadi and other activists, including the mothers of peaceful protesters who were killed by security forces, were first violently confronted and briefly detained by state agents who refused to identify themselves on June 12, 2021, in the city Shiraz. They had traveled to Shiraz to visit the grieving family of champion wrestler Navid Afkari, who was unjustly executed there in September 2020.

The activists had peacefully gathered outside the prison where the wrestler was hanged—and where his two brothers now also fear for their lives in prolonged solitary confinement—when they were beaten by plainclothes agents who refused to identify themselves.

The second confrontation occurred on June 17 when Mohammadi traveled with fellow activists to the city of Shazand in Markazi Province to visit the family of an imprisoned human rights lawyer, Mohammadi Najafi, and was refused entry into the city.

Agents who again refused to identify themselves forced her into a car, drove her around for hours and “confronted her with violence.”

"They showed us an Intelligence Ministry letter requesting the prosecutor prohibit [my] entry into Shazand,” Mohammadi said in an audio message that was circulated on social media.

In the message, Mohammadi added that she was with three human rights lawyers, Abdolfattah Soltani, Arash Keykhosravi and Mostafa Nili, as well as Shanaz Akmali, who has been seeking justice for her son Mostafa Karim Beigi, who was killed in Tehran during a 2009 protest.

Mohammadi: “It has been nothing short of kidnappings and threatening my life”

“When I ask them to show me any legal documents and identify themselves, they refused,” Mohammadi told CHRI. “It has been nothing short of kidnappings and threatening my life. In Shiraz I was assaulted and bruised. My life is in danger.”

They were ultimately forced to return to Tehran.

Released from prison in October 2020 after serving five years for engaging in peaceful activism including against capital punishment, Mohammadi was again sentenced to 30 months in prison and 80 lashes in May 2021 for joining a peaceful sit-in at Evin Prison’s Women’s Ward to protest the violent state suppression of street protests in November 2019.

In late December 2019, following her participation in a peaceful protest in Evin prison against the killing of protestors by state security forces in November 2019, Mohammadi was forcibly and violently exiled to Zanjan prison, some 300 km from Tehran.

Instead of investigating her complaint against the violent prison transfer, she was later sentenced to more prison time. These rights violations took place during the tenure of Judiciary Chief Raisi.

In 2016, Mohammadi was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for “membership in the [now banned] Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty” group; “taking part in assembly and collusion against national security” and “committing propaganda against the state.”

The former Deputy Director of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC), Mohammadi was awarded the Per Anger Prize by the Swedish government for her human rights work in 2011 and the Andrei Sakharov Prize from the American Physical Society in 2018.

Outside the Courtroom - Interview with Mehran Raoof's friend

June 14, 2021

On Sunday, June 14, the second session of Mehran Raoof's court was held. . . . After several requests,  finally they allowed me to to visit. Many families of the prisoners were present. It was about one o'clock when the defendants came out one by one and met with their families and talked.

Mehran, who came out with the guard, wore his reading glasses and had a thoughtful look on his face. Then, with a loud voice, he protested: "They did not let us talk!" I went forward and Mehran asked me for my house phone number. I repeated it twice, before the soldier pulled his arm and took him away.

Compared to a month ago, his general condition was a little better, but I was upset that they did not let us talk. I asked his lawyer how Mehran's case had gone. He said then sentence would be announced at the next hearing, and that Mehran could face one to ten years in prison.

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He said he had objected to several aspects of the cases. He said that they prevented us from visiting because I am not a first-degree relative. Yesterday, Mehran was finally transferred to a public ward after eight months in solitary confinement.

On the way back. I stopped in front of Shahr-e-Kitab,  ( big bookstore, city of books). Usually, I would have been interested in seeing books. But, this time I did not have the patience to go to those chic-op's halls. I told myself how ironic and ridiculous it would be, to go to such a place while Mehran is in prison for translating several books and publishing them without censorship. Then I consoled myself that at least Mehran would no longer be in solitary confinement, but in a ward with other prisoners.

Indeed, freedom is so great for us, the people of this distant land, that we should be happy about going to a prison ward instead of solitary confinement! Then I remembered some of the writer friends who are also in Evin, and some of the labor and student activists who are there too. Maybe Mehran will join them and make a difference.

The memory of our walking in the streets of Tehran came to my mind, and of the Friday morning we crossed the same street by car and went to the mountains.

Damn this life!

Iran Election: Political Prisoners Dying Under Candidate Raisi’s Watch

June 7, 2021

At Least Two Political Prisoners Have Died in Past Four Months

Niknafs Was Jailed Despite Health Conditions That Made Him Unfit for Prison

June 7, 2021 – Another political prisoner has died in state custody two weeks before Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi, who is ultimately responsible for the care of prisoners, runs for president.

“The reported death of Sassan Niknafs in the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary reveals the mounting human toll of the Iranian judiciary’s policy of imprisoning individuals for criticizing the government,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“These individuals shouldn’t be in prison in the first place yet they’re dying in state custody while Raisi focuses on his latest power grab,” he said.

Niknafs’ death was reported just four months after another political prisoner, Behnam Mahjoubi, died in state custody after Iran’s State Medical Examiner had concluded he could not withstand incarceration.

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Haidar Ghorbani, labor activist, sentenced to 11 years

June 5, 2021

Labor activist Heydar Ghorbani was sentenced to 11 years in prison by the Second Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Shahriar County on June 4, 2021.

HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, reports that the labor activist was sentenced on charges of “membership in a group or population or a branch of a population formed within the country to disrupt the security of the country” and “propaganda against the Islamic Republic”.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting The Independent Union of Iranian Workers, Ghorbani is from Kamyaran in Kurdistan Province.

Ghorbani is a construction worker and a member of the Free Trade Union of Iran.

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Nahid Taghavi Transferred, New Trial Scheduled

May 18, 2021

Press release from Mariam Claren regarding Nahid Taghavi, 66 year old innocent German citizen arbitrarily detained in Iran since 16 October 2020.

After 43 days in solitary confinement, Nahid Taghavi was transferred back to the women’s wing in Evin prison.
New trial date scheduled for June 13, 2021

The German government must intervene and free their citizen, Nahid Taghavi immediately and unconditionally. She has been arbitrarily detained for 7 months, her health has deteriorated severely and she is now facing a sham trial.

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Nahid Taghavi was arbitrarily detained by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Tehran on October 16, 2020.

She was held in solitary confinement for the first 5 months of her detention. Nahid was not given appropriate access to medical care or legal representation. She has high blood pressure and her inhumane treatment took a toll on her health causing her diabetes which was previously under control, to return.

After public pressure due to campaigning by her daughter, Mariam Claren based in Germany, Nahid was transferred to the women’s wing for 20 days before being returned to solitary confinement once again on April 5, 2021 under the pretext of a visit to the doctor. After another 43 days in solitary confinement in Isolation Section 2-Alef, Nahid Taghavi was moved back to the women’s wing in Evin prison recently on May 16, 2021.

Nahid’s initial trial was on April 28, 2021. Her lawyer was only given access to her case file for the first time on April 24, 2021, 4 days before the trial itself and he could not see Nahid. As a result, her trial was postponed. Nahid’s new trial date is scheduled for June 13, 2021 before Revolutionary Court branch 26 in Tehran.

The German government must intervene and free their citizen, Nahid Taghavi immediately and unconditionally. She has been arbitrarily detained for 7 months, her health has deteriorated severely and she is now facing a sham trial.

Key points on Nahid Taghavi:

  • 66 year old German-Iranian dual national
  • Arbitrarily arrested on October 16, 2020 in her apartment in Tehran
  • More than 6 months in solitary confinement
  • No consular support despite her German citizenship

Mariam Claren, +49 172 886 23 29
Twitter: @mariam_claren

“Unbearable”: Reza Khandan, Husband of Nasrin Sotoudeh, on the Ground in Iran’s Qarchak Prison

May 10, 2021

"The little girl is three years old. She approaches my wife Nasrin Sotoudeh who is sitting in a corner of the prison yard and asks, “Aunty, can you tell me the Rolling Pumpkin story?” Sonbol is a beautiful girl with golden hair, born here at Qarchak prison. Her mother was pregnant when she was arrested for bank robbery. Now they live in a place the inmates call 'the end of the world.'

"Nasrin has been unjustly and cruelly imprisoned since June 2018 for her legal work representing Iranian human rights and women’s rights activists. She was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes. Under the law she must serve at least 12 years. In October 2020, Nasrin was taken out of Evin prison and told she was being taken to the hospital to have treatment for her heart condition. They lied and drove her to Qarchak. Soon after she arrived, Nasrin caught COVID-19. She told me that coronavirus had spread in her ward and many inmates became sick."

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Iran’s treatment of Zaghari-Ratcliffe amounts to torture, says Raab

May 2, 2021

British foreign secretary Dominic Raab said it was difficult to argue with the characterisation that dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was being held state hostage by the Iranians.

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Iran sets trial dates for dual nationals before nuclear deal talks in Vienna

April 21, 2021

Trials coincide with Iran announcing desire for ‘all for all’ simultaneous prisoner exchanges with west

Iran has set April 28 as the trial date for two dual nationals in cases that may increase the pressure before the next stage of talks on the future of the Iran nuclear deal in Vienna: British-Iranian Mehran Raoof, who has been detained in Evin prison in Tehran since 16 October 2020, and German-Iranian Nahid Taghavi.

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British-Iranian Labor Activist Detained in Solitary Confinement for Six Months

April 15, 2021

More than 80 days after his arrest, Mehran Raouf, a British-Iranian labor activist, remains in solitary confinement in Evin Prison.

The 64-year-old was detained by security forces in Tehran on October 16, 2020.

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Six months later, Raouf is still being held on Ward 2A of Evin Prison, which is run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The reasons for his arrest and the charges against him remain unknown.

A source close to Raouf, told HRANA news agency that the unionist is now suffering from physical ill-health due to the long interrogations and protracted time in a solitary cell.

The Committee to Support Mehran Raouf, which was set up by a number of international labor movements following his arrest, issued a fresh statement on April 9 expressing concern over his continued detention.

“Despite widespread support for Mehran Raouf from than 90 syndicates and trade unions around the world,” it read, “and the signing of a petition calling for Mehran Raouf's release by hundreds of social activists, the British government has not yet taken action to support him.”

IranWire approached the UK Foreign Office regarding Raouf’s case on February 8, 2021. Nine days later, the FCO responded: “We continue to raise the issue of British dual national detentions with the Iranian authorities”.

It is understood that no consular assistance has yet been provided to the British-Iranian national, whose immediate family all live outside Iran.

On March 16, 2021 calling for the unconditional release of the Iranian-British labor activist, saying: "Mehran Raouf is being held 'arbitrarily' in Evin Prison in Tehran. He is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately and unconditionally."

Amnesty International has also repeatedly called on the British government to include Mehran Raouf in its efforts to secure the release of Iranian-British nationals in Iran, alongside Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

The charity reports that Raouf was held incommunicado for a month after his arrest, after which he was allowed to make one brief telephone call to distant relative inside Iran.

Since then, Amnesty added, he had been “denied calls with his immediate family and the right to access legal counsel, even from the judiciary-approved lawyers that his family have retained on his behalf.

“He has been held in prolonged solitary confinement for months. Amnesty International fears that he is at serious risk of further torture and other human rights violations, especially given the Revolutionary Guards’ pattern of subjecting detainees to torture to extract forced ‘confessions’ which are later used to issue convictions in unfair trials.”

Dangerous Surge in Transfers to Remote Locations of Iran’s Political Prisoners

March 24, 2021

Since December 2020, there appears to be concerted efforts to disperse prisoners, among them many women, who have been standard bearers of resistance in Iran’s prisons including during their imprisonment.

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Iran: Four Ahwazi Arab Men Secretly Executed

March 17, 2021

Ali Khasraji, Hossein Silawi, Jasem Heidary and Naser Khafajian, from Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority, were executed in secret in Sepidar prison on 28 February 2021. The Iranian authorities are concealing the full truth about their fate as well as the location of their graves and are refusing to return their bodies to their families, thereby committing the ongoing crime of enforced disappearance.

Ahwazi Arab prisoners of conscience Mohammad Ali Amouri, Jaber Alboshokeh and Mokhtar Alboshokeh continue to be denied adequate health care.

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From Mariam Claren about Nahid Taghavi

March 17, 2021

On the 151 day of her arbitrary detention my mother Nahid Taghavi was transferred to the women’s wing in Evin prison on Tuesday, 16 March.

She called my uncle and said, that her transfer was only made, because of all the media attention and our campaign to #freenahid.

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The women in the wing gave her a warm welcome and told her about all the efforts that are made on international level to free her.

This is a first victory but the campaign and fight for her unconditional and immediate release have to be continued.

For today, I am happy that my mother is not isolated anymore and has the opportunity to talk with all the strong and brave women who are behind bars with her. We should all continue campaigning to free them all.

Special thanks to all the media for tireless covering the story of Nahid Taghavi.

Mariam Claren

Key points on Nahid Taghavi:
· 66 year old German-Iranian dual national
· Arbitrarily arrested on October 16, 2020 in her apartment in Tehran
· 5 months in solitary confinement
· No access to lawyer
· No consular support despite her German citizenship

Contact:Mariam Claren, +49 172 886 23 29
Twitter: @mariam_claren

Lawsuit by Civil Rights Activists Reignites Debate over Solitary Confinement in Iran's Prisons

March 11, 2021

A group of civil rights activists, many of them former prisoners who suffered solitary confinement, appeared before the Judiciary Services Office in Tehran to file a suit against those who order or enforce solitary confinement in Iran’s detention centers and prisons.

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Iran Executes Dissident Journalist Accused of Inciting Unrest

December 20, 2020

Amnesty International said: “The authorities rushed to execute Ruhollah Zam in what we believe was a reprehensible bid to avoid an international campaign to save his life."

The execution was also condemned by the press freedom groups Reporters without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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