Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee

Iranian writer and political prisoner

Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee or Golrokh Iraee (Farsi: گلرخ ایرایی), born about 1980,[1] is an Iranian writer, accountant and human rights defender who advocates against the practice of stoning in Iran.

Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee
Born1980
Iran
OccupationAccountant, writer, human rights defender
Abu Bakr stops stoning in Mecca.

Golrokh began serving a six-year sentence in October 2016 for “insulting the sacred” and “propaganda against the state,” after she wrote a story about stoning.[2] Iraee was released from prison on January 3, 2017 after a 71-day hunger strike by her husband and a protest on Twitter that got international attention, but she was returned to prison January 22, after her husband stopped his hunger strike.[3]

Stoning to death is controversial in Iran, and often used against women. In 2010 there was strong international criticism of Iran because of the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Ashtiani was freed in March 2014, after nine years on death row.[4] Another Iranian woman, Fariba Khalegi, is believed to be in prison and in danger of stoning.[5]

ArrestEdit

 
Countries with death by stoning

In September 2014, the Iranian government searched the home of Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and her husband Arash Sadeghi (Farsi: آرش صادقی) in Tehran. The guards took laptops, notebooks and CDs.[6] They found an unpublished story Iraee wrote about stoning a woman. [5] In the story, a young woman watches the movie, “The Stoning of Soraya M”, becomes angry, and burns a copy of the Koran.[4]

After the story was found, Iraee and her husband Sadegh were arrested by four men believed to be from the Revolutionary Guards. They took Sadegh to Evin Prison, but they took Iraee to a secret place for three days. They did not allow her to see a lawyer or to talk to her family. Then they took her to Evin Prison. For 17 days, they questioned her for hours, blindfolded her, and threatened to kill her. While they interrogated Iraee, she had to listen to the guards kick and choke her husband in the next cell.[6][7]

TrialsEdit

Iraee had two short hearings. Her first hearing was about her husband's political activity. She was not permitted to speak. During the second hearing she was in the hospital after surgery, but the court would not look at her medical records. Her first lawyer was pressured to drop her case, and her second lawyer was prohibited from representing her.[6]

In October 2016, Iranian officials called Ebrahimi Iraee on a friend's telephone and told her to go to Evin Prison to start serving a six-year prison sentence.[5] They did not have an arrest warrant, as the law requires. Iraee was convicted of “insulting Islamic sanctities” and “spreading propaganda against the system.”[4]

Amnesty International called on the Iranian governement to set Iraee free. According to Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, "She is facing years behind bars simply for writing a story, and one which was not even published – she is effectively being punished for using her imagination. Instead of imprisoning a young woman for peacefully exercising her human rights by expressing her opposition to stoning, the Iranian authorities should focus on abolishing this punishment, which amounts to torture."[8]

Hunger strikeEdit

 
Evin Prison, Tehran, Iran

On October 24, Iraee's husband Sadeghi went on a hunger strike in prison to protest Iraee's imprisonment. There were demonstrations outside Evin Prison, which is very unusual.[9] Even though Twitter is prohibited in Iran, a Twitter campaign used the hashtag #SaveArash [10] On January 3, 2017 Iraee was set free, and Sadeghi stopped his hunger strike. Sadghi's family said he was having many medical problems, including vomiting blood, and respiratory, heart, kidney and gastrointestinal problems.[11] They took Sadeghi to the hospital, but after only a few days, on January 7 they returned him to prison, even though the doctors said he needed to be in the hospital.[3]

Iranian authorities said Iraee and Sadegh could be temporarily out of prison on bail if they got property bonds worth 7 and 10 billion rials (US$300,000) for Arash Sadeghi and 5 billion rials (US$150,000) for Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee.[11]

Iraee brought a property deed for the bail, but the government said they had a new order, and that Iraee must return to prison. Iraee refused to return to prison, but when she tried to visit her husband in the hospital, on January 22 the Revolutionary Guards at Sarallah Headquarters forced her to return to Evin Prison.[3]

Imprisonment conditionsEdit

Golrokh was transferred from Evin prison to a prison in the town of Varamin in March 2018. At this time Golrokh and fellow human rights defender, Atena Daemi were being held in a quarantine section of Shahr-e Rey prison. It has been reported that the conditions are poor, with the activists still wearing the same clothing as when they arrived[12].

As of 9 March, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, who suffers from severe muscular pain, had been on hunger strike for over one month (35 days), and had reportedly been forcibly given IV fluids since her arrival to the prison.

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Iranian Human Rights Activist Jailed for 6 Years Over Facebook Posts". 28 December 2016.
  2. "السعودية: الحكم على صحفي بالسجن خمس سنوات لنشره تغريدات دليل آخر على استمرار الممارسات القمعية للسلطات السعودية".
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Wife of Imprisoned Activist Arash Sadeghi Resists Order to Return to Prison".
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Who Is Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee? Iranian Woman Sentenced To 6 Years In Jail For Writing About Stoning". 7 October 2016.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Dehghan, Saeed Kamali (6 October 2016). "Iranian judges sentence writer to jail for story about stoning to death" – via The Guardian.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "A writer in Iran is facing six years in prison because she wrote an unpublished novel about stoning". 6 October 2016.
  7. "Iranian writer faces long jail term for fictional novel about stoning".
  8. "Iran: Writer facing imminent imprisonment for story about stoning".
  9. Gladstone, Rick (3 January 2017). "Iranian Activist Ends Hunger Strike as Wife Is Released From Prison" – via NYTimes.com.
  10. "Jailed Iranian activist ends hunger strike after wife freed". 3 January 2017 – via www.bbc.com.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Update:Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee Iranian writer and human rights activist released on bail today". 2 January 2017.
  12. "9 March 2018 - Held in poor conditions in Shahr-e Rey prison". 20/05/2018. Check date values in: |date= (help)