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

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Since December 2020, there appear to be concerted efforts to disperse those who have been standard bearers of resistance in Iran’s prisons including during their imprisonment, including many women prisoners. These women, from different political perspectives, have all been recently moved from the general population in various prisons in Iran to remote prison locations or put into solitary confinement.


Golrokh Iraee (Persian: گلرخ ایرایی ‎)

Imprisoned since 2016, Iraee had been held in Qarchak women’s prison in southern Iran.  Last December, she was violently transferred to the “political ward” 2A of Tehran’s Evin prison, put in solitary confinement, denied family contact and interrogated for 43 days.  In late January 2021, she was again transferred, now to Amol prison in northern Iran with one of the highest prison Covid casualty rates.  Iraee is a writer, accountant and human rights activist who advocates against the practice of stoning in Iran. She is serving a 6-year sentence for “insulting the sacred” and “propaganda against the state” after she wrote an (unpublished) story about stoning.  She has been repeatedly and extensively interrogated while blindfolded, with guards threatening to kill her, and forced to listen to the guards beat her husband in the next cell. She continues to resist, even from prison.


Maryam Akbari Monfared (Persian: مریم اکبری منفرد ‎)
Akbari, a human rights advocate, has been in prison for 12 years. In early March, she was abruptly moved from Evin to a prison in a remote city of Semnan, over 136 miles away. As the guards dragged her from her cell, other women prisoners protested her transfer. In late 2018, she and 2 other prisoners, Golrokh Iraee and Atena Daemi, wrote a protest letter to the United Nations representative, asking him to travel to Iran and witness the violations of human rights occurring. In the 1988 mass executions of political prisoners in Iran, her three brothers and one sister, all radical activists, were accused of being Mujahedin, and executed.


Zeynab Jalalian (Persian: زينب جلاليان
Jalalian is a Kurdish minority political prisoner in Iran who has already been imprisoned for ten years. During this past year, she was moved around different prisons in Iran four times and finally was sent to the southern city of Yazd. She is a women’s rights activist who was sentenced to death for “enmity against God” (moharebeh) by an Iranian court in 2008 in a sham trial that lasted only a few minutes. The Iranian rulers accused her of being a member of a Kurdish militant group, which she denies. Her death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2011.


Atena Daemi (Persian: آتنا دائمی ‎)
On March 16, 2021 Daemi was transferred from Evin Prison to Lakan Prison in Rasht, northern Iran. Daemi is serving a 14 year sentence on charges that include distributing anti-death penalty leaflets plus posting criticism of the Iran regime’s executions record on Facebook and Twitter. Subsequent appeals reduced Daemi's original sentence. Then two additional years were added, one for “propaganda against the state”, and another year and 74 lashes for “disrupting the prison order”. She has repeatedly gone on hunger strikes to protest against prison conditions and against the death penalty while behind bars at Evin prison.


Saba Kord Afshari (Persian: صبا کردافشاری ‎)
Afshari and her mother are both political prisoners in Iran. Last December, she was transferred from Evin to Qarchak prison. This past January, she was transferred from Ward 8 of Gharchak to Ward 6, where she was beaten. She is currently housed alongside “violent crimes” prisoners.

The IRI court has sentenced her to 24 years, (later reduced to 9) for appearing in public without a hijab (head covering), and talking about it on social media. The charges included: “promoting corruption and prostitution through appearing without a headscarf in public,” “propaganda against the state,” and “assembly and collusion with an intent to commit a crime against the national security.”


Saeed Eghbali
March 22, Eghbali was abruptly banished from Evin Prison to Raja’i Shahr Prison in Karaj, a major city west of the Iranian capital. He is currently held in a cell with 2 death-row prisoners.  Prison officials have told him  that he will be transferred to a ward holding common criminals and that they have no responsibility to protect his life or health. In recent years other political prisoners that the IRI put in similar conditions have been killed by criminal inmates. Eghbali is a civil rights activist accused of  "conspiracy to act against the security of the country,"  and sentenced to 5 years. He had been in Evin Prison for nearly a year.


Some of the other prisoners abruptly transferred in in recent months to various prisons around the country include Sepideh Qalyan, Sepideh Farhan, Mojgan Keshavarz, Saba Kordafshari, Golrokh Erayi, Yasman Ariani, Monira Arabshahi, Samaneh Norouz Moradi, Sakineh Parvaneh, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Maryam Ebrahimvand, Asma Abdi, Kasra Nouri, Nasrullah Lashani.




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