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Campaign
Update
October 24, 2021

New Charges Filed Against Courageous Journalist Sepideh Gholian

As we reported last week, on October 11 Iranian freelance journalist Sepideh Gholian was brutally re-arrested by 30 plainclothes thugs of Iran’s Islamic regime while she was out on medical leave from prison and at her sister’s home.

During her medical leave, she produced a Farsi Youtube video of her prison experiences, and did an interview with Iran International TV that are viewed tens of thousands of times in Iran and internationally (see IEC website’s Youtube channel under “playlists”). She was re-arrested and returned to prison after she had also published a series of revelations while out on medical leave about the brutal treatment of female prisoners in Bushehr, which she described as a “forgotten hell.”

She is now reportedly being held in Tehran’s Evin prison where she said she had previously been threatened with being raped and murdered.  According to the website https://www.journalismisnotacrime.com fresh charges of “spreading lies online” and “propaganda against the regime” have now been filed against her.

Sepideh’s Story – the Horrors of Iran’s Islamic Republic – and the Courage of Its Political Prisoners

Sepideh’s story offers a window into the horrors of Iran’s Islamic Republic and the enormous courage and heroism of many of its political prisoners – prisoners who must be freed now!

In a country where women are forcibly veiled, often covered in black cloth from head to toe, where showing a patch of hair is considered the crime of supposedly “tempting men”, she smiles proudly from under her blue, red, green, blond or sometimes multi-colored hair, and she has a preference for flowery-print clothing.

Sepideh was first arrested in November 2018, when she was 23 years old and was reporting on the workers’ struggle at a Khuzestan sugarcane factory.  She was brutally tortured for 30 days along with her fellow activist who was arrested with her, Esmail Bakhshi. She noted at one point, she noted that her body was “covered with bruises”.  She was sentenced to 19 ½ years, later reduced to 5 years.

In the face of this brutality, she has continued to use her sharp pen and even sharper voice to expose the criminality of Iran’s theocratic regime. She advocates for freedom for all Iran’s political prisoners, and staunchly opposes the savage oppression of women, labor activists and minorities such as Sunni Arabs (Iran’s theocracy is Shiite).

In late 2019, she released an audio message from Gharchak prison published by IranWire. Here are some excerpts:

…after days of back-to-back interrogations…[t]hey left me in the interrogation room for 16 hours where I could hear the sounds of them torturing a human being they called “Esmail” from the next room...I cannot stop hearing the sound of torture…women are arrested and sent to Gharchak Prison for eating ice cream on the charge of “spreading corruption and prostitution through eating ice cream on the street!”...they arrest women on the street and charge them with “prostitution through walking or standing in walkways at unusual times!”…because of their hair color or how they are dressed….Listen to my voice….This voice is the voice of somebody who has been sentenced to 19 years and six months [in prison] and who now is not about freedom and equality for herself….She demands an end to the dark days and nights…

Sepideh has written a 19-part prison memoir “Talapia Sucks the Blood of Hur al-Azim” which some have called “a damning indictment” of Iran’s regime and “a call to arms.”


Free Sepideh and ALL Iran’s Political Prisoners

Courageous voices of journalists and youth such as Sepideh Gholian must not be suffocated and killed.  It is urgent that people from all walks of life – including today’s youth and students – learn about Sepideh and all Iran’s courageous political prisoners, and join with the International Emergency Campaign to take up the fight to free all of Iran’s political prisoners NOW – with ever greater urgency.

Sign and circulate the Emergency Appeal, and get connected with the International Emergency Campaign today.

____

IEC Activists Take Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners to UC Berkeley Campus

On October 19, a half dozen supporters of the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners – including former political prisoners - took our message to the University of California Berkeley campus.  We held a banner in Spanish, English and Farsi that read “Unbearable: The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance! Global Outcry Urgently Needed. We Must ACT Now!” and distributed more than 200 fliers.  Most students didn’t know about Iran’s political prisoners and some expressed outrage and interest in the campaign.  We concluded more campus outings are needed!  

Talking to Students - Sproul Plaza, University of California, Berkeley - October 19

As we reported last week, on October 11 Iranian freelance journalist Sepideh Gholian was brutally re-arrested by 30 plainclothes thugs of Iran’s Islamic regime while she was out on medical leave from prison and at her sister’s home.

During her medical leave, she produced a Farsi Youtube video of her prison experiences, and did an interview with Iran International TV that are viewed tens of thousands of times in Iran and internationally (see IEC website’s Youtube channel under “playlists”). She was re-arrested and returned to prison after she had also published a series of revelations while out on medical leave about the brutal treatment of female prisoners in Bushehr, which she described as a “forgotten hell.”

She is now reportedly being held in Tehran’s Evin prison where she said she had previously been threatened with being raped and murdered.  According to the website https://www.journalismisnotacrime.com fresh charges of “spreading lies online” and “propaganda against the regime” have now been filed against her.

Sepideh’s Story – the Horrors of Iran’s Islamic Republic – and the Courage of Its Political Prisoners

Sepideh’s story offers a window into the horrors of Iran’s Islamic Republic and the enormous courage and heroism of many of its political prisoners – prisoners who must be freed now!

In a country where women are forcibly veiled, often covered in black cloth from head to toe, where showing a patch of hair is considered the crime of supposedly “tempting men”, she smiles proudly from under her blue, red, green, blond or sometimes multi-colored hair, and she has a preference for flowery-print clothing.

Sepideh was first arrested in November 2018, when she was 23 years old and was reporting on the workers’ struggle at a Khuzestan sugarcane factory.  She was brutally tortured for 30 days along with her fellow activist who was arrested with her, Esmail Bakhshi. She noted at one point, she noted that her body was “covered with bruises”.  She was sentenced to 19 ½ years, later reduced to 5 years.

In the face of this brutality, she has continued to use her sharp pen and even sharper voice to expose the criminality of Iran’s theocratic regime. She advocates for freedom for all Iran’s political prisoners, and staunchly opposes the savage oppression of women, labor activists and minorities such as Sunni Arabs (Iran’s theocracy is Shiite).

In late 2019, she released an audio message from Gharchak prison published by IranWire. Here are some excerpts:

…after days of back-to-back interrogations…[t]hey left me in the interrogation room for 16 hours where I could hear the sounds of them torturing a human being they called “Esmail” from the next room...I cannot stop hearing the sound of torture…women are arrested and sent to Gharchak Prison for eating ice cream on the charge of “spreading corruption and prostitution through eating ice cream on the street!”...they arrest women on the street and charge them with “prostitution through walking or standing in walkways at unusual times!”…because of their hair color or how they are dressed….Listen to my voice….This voice is the voice of somebody who has been sentenced to 19 years and six months [in prison] and who now is not about freedom and equality for herself….She demands an end to the dark days and nights…

Sepideh has written a 19-part prison memoir “Talapia Sucks the Blood of Hur al-Azim” which some have called “a damning indictment” of Iran’s regime and “a call to arms.”


Free Sepideh and ALL Iran’s Political Prisoners

Courageous voices of journalists and youth such as Sepideh Gholian must not be suffocated and killed.  It is urgent that people from all walks of life – including today’s youth and students – learn about Sepideh and all Iran’s courageous political prisoners, and join with the International Emergency Campaign to take up the fight to free all of Iran’s political prisoners NOW – with ever greater urgency.

Sign and circulate the Emergency Appeal, and get connected with the International Emergency Campaign today.

____

IEC Activists Take Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners to UC Berkeley Campus

On October 19, a half dozen supporters of the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners – including former political prisoners - took our message to the University of California Berkeley campus.  We held a banner in Spanish, English and Farsi that read “Unbearable: The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance! Global Outcry Urgently Needed. We Must ACT Now!” and distributed more than 200 fliers.  Most students didn’t know about Iran’s political prisoners and some expressed outrage and interest in the campaign.  We concluded more campus outings are needed!  

Talking to Students - Sproul Plaza, University of California, Berkeley - October 19

Press Releases & Updates from the Campaign

October 3, 2021
Update

Now Available Online – Watch

September 22, 2021
Update

UN Press Conference Photos and Video

September 17, 2021
Update

Heroism for Our Times

May 20, 2021
Update

Letter to Signatories

Prisoner News