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Free Sepideh Gholian and all Iranian Political Prisoners! Press Release

On release from prison Gholian declares “Bloody Khamenei, we will bury you!”—then re-arrested within hours

March 17, 2023

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On March 15, Sepideh Gholian (Qolian) stepped out of Evin Prison in Tehran after four years and seven months of imprisonment for supporting striking sugarcane workers, and began shouting, "Bloody Khamenei, we will bury you!"

Just hours later the car caravan taking her home to Khuzestan was stopped on the highway by a large number of security forces and she was forcibly kidnapped and reportedly returned to Evin.

Supporters fear for her life and safety. The International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran's Political Prisoners NOW (IEC) calls for her immediate release and the immediate release of all Iranian political prisoners.

As she was walking out of Evin’s gate earlier, hijab-less, she had also boldly called for freeing all of Evin’s political prisoners, especially women. She also immediately posted this message on her social media accounts: “After four years and seven months, I was released from the Haft Tappeh case. This time I came out hoping for the freedom of Iran! Hoping for the release of my dear ones Sepideh Kashani, Niloufar Bayani, Zahra Zahtabchi, Bahareh Hedayat, Golrokh Iraei, Nahid Taghavi and all political prisoners, especially women prisoners. #Woman_Life_Freedom.”

Her fearless actions and messages circulated around the world on mainstream and social media.

March 15, 2023, Sepideh Gholian being released from Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran


March 15, 2023, Sepideh Gholian being released from Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran   

Sepideh Gholian—Imprisoned for Journalism and Activism on Behalf of Iranian Sugar Workers

Haft Tappeh is a sugar cane refining company in Iran’s Khuzestan province whose striking workers Sepideh had supported through her journalism and activism. She was sentenced to five years and repeatedly tortured in prison for this activism. She had completed all but five months of her sentence. She is now barely 28 years old.

IEC spokesperson Dolly Veale says of Sepideh,

“We call on all justice loving people to act now to condemn her re-arrest. She embodies the words of our Emergency Appeal in that Iran’s brutal repression has been met by inspiring heroism. She is a very brave young woman whose name has been on nearly every protest action or statement by Evin prisoners, especially during the months of the Jina Mahsa Amini uprising. Her uncompromising spirit against oppression and the theocratic regime in these dangerous times should be emulated by people everywhere who dream of a better world. She is a real role model for youth seeking a better world."

"Over these past six months, the Islamic Republic has shown the world its vicious brutality and the illegitimacy of its judicial system—killing over 500 overwhelmingly nonviolent protesters and arresting more than 19,000 others," Veale continues. "We say to the Islamic Republic of Iran: Free Sepideh Gholian and all Iran’s political prisoners now! We say to the U.S. government: No threats or attacks on Iran, lift the sanctions!”

Send solidarity messages or inquiries to

For background on Sepideh Gholian, including links to videos in Farsi, see IEC’s “Free Sepideh” Resource Page.

The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance—We Must ACT NOW!

Endorse the Emergency Appeal from the International Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now

Launched in 2021 in the U.S., it has been endorsed by over 4,500 people from 40 countries, including Germany, the UK and France. Signers include former Iranian political prisoners, relatives of current prisoners, the Burn the Cage/Free the Birds movement, and prominent voices of conscience including Shirin Ebadi, Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Gloria Steinem, Ariel Dorfman, Jody Williams, Daniel Ellsberg, Judith Butler, and Raymond Lotta. It appeared as an ad on the back cover of the Summer 2021 issue of The New York Review of Books as well as in the Summer 2022 issue of Ms. Magazine and has been translated into Farsi, Turkish, French, Spanish, and German.