Activists German-Iranian Nahid Taghavi and British-Iranian Mehran Raoof have been arbitrarily detained in Tehran’s Evin prison since October 16, 2020, solely for peacefully exercising their human rights. In August 2021, a Revolutionary Court convicted them of national security related charges and sentenced them to 10 years and eight months in prison, following a grossly unfair trial. Nahid Taghavi is suffering chronic back pain and is denied surgery on her spine, which specialist doctors said she urgently requires. Both are prisoners of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released.
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Head of judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei
c/o Embassy of Iran to the European Union
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt No. 15,
1050 Bruxelles, Belgium
Dear Mr. Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei,
German-Iranian Nahid Taghavi, aged 67, and British-Iranian Mehran Raoof, aged 64, both prisoners of conscience, are serving unjust sentences in Tehran’s Evin prison for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association, including supporting workers’ and women’s rights. On August 4, 2021, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran convicted them of “forming a group composed of more than two people with the purpose of disrupting national security”, in apparent reference to a social media account that posts about women’s rights and “spreading propaganda against the system” and sentenced them to 10 years and eight months in prison. Both denied all accusations. Their trial was grossly unfair: they were denied their right to adequate defence and to communicate with their lawyer prior to the first trial session on April 28, 2021. Mehran Raoof was barred from meeting his lawyer throughout trial and only met him during hearings. Following their arbitrary arrests in October 2020, they were held in prolonged solitary confinement in violation of the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment. During this period, interrogators repeatedly subjected them to coercive questioning without the presence of lawyers. Nahid Taghavi’s daughter said interrogators accused her mother of “national security offences” in relation to the peaceful exercise of her human rights, including meeting others to discuss women’s and labour rights and possessing literature about these issues. Amnesty International learned that interrogators subjected Mehran Raoof to torture and other ill-treatment including by threatening to harm him if he did not cooperate and holding him in a room with the lights on 24 hours a day, which caused him mental distress.
Prison and prosecution authorities, who are both supervised by the judiciary, are denying Nahid Taghavi adequate health care, despite specialist doctors in September 2021 saying she needs urgent surgery on her spinal column. Her daughter said her chronic back pain had been exacerbated by the Revolutionary Guards forcing her to sleep on a thin blanket on the floor in section 2A of Evin prison.
I ask you to immediately and unconditionally release Mehran Raoof and Nahid Taghavi as they are prisoners of conscience detained solely in connection with peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association. Pending their release, ensure they are provided adequate health care, including transfer to outside facilities for treatment unavailable in prison, and given regular access to a lawyer of their choosing and family, and ensure that they are granted access to relevant consular assistance.