Iranian human rights defender and anti-death penalty campaigner Atena Daemi was violently arrested on 26 November and taken to Evin Prison to begin serving a seven-year prison sentence. She is a prisoner of conscience held for her human rights work.
Anti-death penalty campaigner and human rights defender Atena Daemi was arrested on 26 November 2016 when three Revolutionary Guard officials raided her parents’ house and took her away to Tehran’s Evin Prison to begin serving her seven-year prison sentence. In a letter leaked from prison on 1 December, Atena Daemi said that she was beaten and pepper sprayed by the officials arresting her after she insisted peacefully that they present an arrest warrant. She has said that her sister was also punched in her chest when she attempted to intervene to stop the officials. She also described how, on the way to prison, the Revolutionary Guard officials blindfolded her and repeatedly threatened her by saying that they would open new cases against her and had “cooked up a plan so that she gets the thought of ever getting released from prison out of her mind”.
Atena Daemi has been sentenced to seven years in prison for peacefully defending human rights, including through: writing posts on Facebook criticizing the authorities’ execution record; painting anti-death penalty slogans on walls; distributing anti-death penalty leaflets; participating in a peaceful protest against the 2014 execution of a young Iranian woman called Reyhaneh Jabbari; visiting the gravesite of those killed during the protests following the 2009 presidential election; and sending information about abuses against political prisoners to human rights groups based outside Iran. In the court verdict issued against her in April 2015, these peaceful activities were cited by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran as evidence of “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security”, “spreading propaganda against the system” and “insulting the Supreme Leader”.
Atena Daemi was first arrested in October 2014. She was held in Section 2A of Evin Prison – which is run by the Revolutionary Guards – for 86 days, including 51 days in solitary confinement. During this period, she was denied access to a lawyer even though she was repeatedly interrogated. Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced her to 14 years in prison after a grossly unfair trial in March 2015 that lasted no more than 15 minutes. In September 2016, Branch 36 of the Court of Appeal in Tehran reduced the sentence to seven years.
1) TAKE ACTION
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
Urging the Iranian authorities to release Atena Daemi immediately and unconditionally, as she is a prisoner of conscience targeted solely for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly;
Calling on them to investigate her allegations of torture or other ill-treatment, including being subjected to prolonged solitary confinement and to violence during her arrest, and ensure that those suspected of responsibility are brought to justice in fair trials;
Urging them to publicly recognize the work of human rights defenders, stop criminalizing their peaceful human rights activities, and take all measures to protect them from intimidation, harassment, retaliation, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and other ill-treatment, as set out in the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
Contact below official by 23 January, 2017:
Office of the Supreme Leader
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
Salutation: Your Excellency
2) LET US KNOW YOU TOOK ACTION
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