Iranian Activist Back Behind Bars After Exposing Prisoner Abuse 

Due to the fact she was 1st jailed in 2018 for masking labor strikes at

Due to the fact she was 1st jailed in 2018 for masking labor strikes at a nearby sugar manufacturing facility, journalist and activist Sepideh Gholian has become rather of an professional at exposing the torture methods she has witnessed in prisons during Iran.

Now the 26-year-old’s encounters, drawn from her incarceration at detention services and four infamous penitentiaries all-around the nation, has landed her back again in a acquainted place — jail.

Gholian was on medical furlough immediately after contracting COVID-19 when a large group of safety brokers stormed her family’s residence in the western Khuzestan Province on Oct 10, arrested her, and took her into detention.

Gholian’s attorney, Amir Raisian, wrote on Twitter on Oct 13 that his shopper referred to as her household immediately after two times and mentioned she experienced been taken from the provincial money, Ahvaz, to the port town of Bushehr, and from there to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Gholian’s law firm mentioned his consumer was transferred to the Tehran facility for “investigation and interrogation.”

As she has been transferred from jail to jail over the a long time Gholian has exclusively requested that she not be despatched back again to Evin prison where, she told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda in an job interview previous month, she had been “threatened with death and rape many moments.”

Her arrest arrived just days immediately after Gholian posted an graphic of a summons for her to confront prices of “spreading lies and propaganda” on-line towards the Iranian government.

When the Iranian authorities have not officially created the link, Gholian’s arrest and transfer to Evin prison seems to be connected to a collection of tweets she posted on September 9 in which she documented what she reported was rampant prisoner abuse throughout her time at Bushehr Central Jail.

Iran’s Bushehr prison (file picture)

Individuals tweets provided accounts of psychological torture, collective punishment, and intercourse-for-favors procedures.

In posting the summons she gained from the neighborhood prosecutor’s office environment, Gholian wrote on September 22 that “the Islamic Republic has once again proved that its response to truth and justice is repression and revenge.”

Revealing Punishments

Just a day before she was summoned to experience fresh rates, she expounded on her statements of prisoner abuse in an job interview with Radio Farda in which she said she felt as if she experienced observed the “finishes of the earth.”

“I came to feel that there definitely may possibly be such a position, simply because I have been in a public jail ward” in Iran, mentioned Gholian, whose journey by means of the country’s penal process began at a detention facility in her property province of Khuzestan after her arrest along with other activists all through the protests at the Haft Tappeh Sugar Factory.

Oil-loaded Khuzestan is residence to Iran’s Arab minority. The local community has extensive complained of discrimination and say they do not benefit from the province’s wealth.

In her tweets, Gholian wrote that inmates at the women’s ward of the Bushehr facility are subjected to the “most savage kinds of torture, and are retained in the most inhuman conditions, and their criminal offense is just that they are girls and inmates.”

She then posted 5 individual accounts to again up her claims, which include collective punishments for rule violations, remaining forced to strip naked in front of inmates and prison workers, psychological tension, compelled short-term marriage with male inmates, and coerced sex with guards.

Because then, she has been bounced about, starting up with Sepidar prison in Khuzestan. Whilst the proper to be incarcerated in one’s region of home is enshrined in Iranian legislation, Gholian informed RFE/RL that she had been transferred 4 moments in the house of 30 months with no rationalization and inspite of her requests that she be permitted to provide her sentence in traveling distance of her relatives.

In addition to Sepidar, she has served time in Evin jail the Qarchak facility southeast of the cash, regarded the worst women’s prison in Iran Bushehr and now, again to Evin.

Gholian advised RFE/RL that she was fearful of returning to Evin prison and reported she experienced alerted the authorities of the threats she experienced received there.

“Many situations, when I place my head on the pillow, I felt that I would be killed by tomorrow,” Gholian explained in the September interview. “It is the very same now. When I satisfied with the Evin prison decide I advised him: ‘If you send out me back again, just know that I will be killed there if the circumstance is the similar.”

She claimed that her notoriety in the media and as an activist could possibly have spared her the harshest treatment method, but she was not exempt from plan abuse. She described currently being grabbed by her arms and ft and kicked and punched by guards. At times Gholian, who has been finding out Iran’s Islamic legislation though in prison, was sent into “quarantine” basically for working out her rights.

“As a prisoner, I have the right to lodge problems” about prison disorders, she mentioned. But the reality was pretty distinctive.

For case in point, she explained: “Say I occur and request why there is no h2o. The security guards are brought in to beat me. They get me to solitary confinement. All this transpired when I was there.”

‘Human Dignity Is Trampled’

She also expounded on some of the obscure sorts of collective punishment she explained in her controversial tweets about Bushehr.

The wearing of underwear is required for all prisoners, she wrote. But after a single girl refused to use a bra day and night time all of her fellow inmates had been pressured to surrender their undergarments.

“At roll connect with, and in entrance of the horror-stricken eyes of the other feminine inmates,” she wrote, the guards tore her apparel off. “The inmates ongoing to fork out for [the prisoner’s] refusal. They lined absolutely everyone up and compelled them to get their bras and underwear off and put them in a trash bag.”

“From that position on, wearing undergarments was prohibited for months, even when the women experienced their time period,” Gholian wrote.

In a different scenario, a lady who employed a bottle of mineral drinking water to shower when not permitted was taken to the jail property, stripped bare, and doused with milk and mineral drinking water in front of other inmates and guards.

“It is mentioned that a woman’s ‘human dignity’ ought to be preserved,” Gholian advised RFE/RL. “But the same female is stripped bare in the course of roll get in touch with.”

She mentioned that a “woman’s human dignity is trampled on with all her remaining” when stripped naked in front of some others, and that when she has created hundreds of letters to the authorities, including Attorney-General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, about the incident, none has been answered.

“I have explained all the challenges in such a way that there is no want to speak to the prisoner at all,” she stated. “I have outlined the precise day of the incident so that they can go [check the security-camera footage] and see how the prisoner was stripped bare and bathed in mineral water and milk.”

This is significantly from the initially time Gholian has absent community with accounts of abusive therapy versus her or other prisoners in Iran, which global rights watchdogs routinely criticize for its systemic use of torture, political repression, the execution of minors, and other crimes in opposition to humanity.

Gholian was arrested along with about 20 activists, protest organizers, and personnel all through the Haft Tappeh Sugar Manufacturing unit strike in November 2018. But whilst most had been introduced on bond the subsequent day, Gholian was imprisoned for a thirty day period.

Her launch from prison in Ahvaz was shorter-lived. After Iranian state television aired footage in January 2019, in which it purported to exhibit Gholian confessing to taking element in alleged Western-backed initiatives to overthrow the government, she immediately countered on social media by expressing she experienced been crushed and forced to make a untrue confession.

The following day, her father, Khodarahm Gholian, advised RFE/RL that security forces arrived at the relatives property to choose both of those Sepideh and her brother Mehdi absent. Khodarahm Gholian claimed Sepideh and Mehdi had been seriously crushed before becoming thrown in a vehicle, and that the officers also beat him and his spouse.

He informed RFE/RL that, upon his daughter’s launch the preceding December, authorities warned they would “burn off her to ashes” if she spoke out.

Centered on her alleged confession, she was sentenced to 18 years in jail, just after which she was released on bail in October 2019 following likely on a hunger strike that prompted Amnesty International to elevate worries.

Though out of custody, Gholian wrote a memoir about her time in Sepidar prison that was posted by Iran Wire in July 2020. The personal account — broken into 19 vignettes that describe discrimination in opposition to Arab inmates, pressured shavings, rape, and other abuses — has due to the fact been released as a book, Tilapia Sucks The Blood Of Hur al-Azim.

Published by RFE/RL senior correspondent Michael Scollon, based on reporting by RFE/RL’s Radio Farda and an interview carried out by Radio Farda senior correspondent Mohammad Zarghami.