Iran’s activists jailed and beaten for speaking out

The Guardian reports: When the Iranian student activist Arash Sadeghi was temporarily released from Tehran’s Evin prison in November 2010, he anticipated a little respite from a year of harsh beatings and agony in jail.

Instead, within a few days, security officials had raided his home in middle of the night. As they broke their way into the house, Sadeghi’s mother, who was alone with her daughter, suffered a heart attack.

The officials continued their search as she laid unconscious on the floor, ransacking the house and trying to find Sadeghi, who was at his grandfather’s house that night. When the officials left, Farahnaz Dargahi was taken to hospital. She died within a few days.

“My father, my sister and my entire family and relatives blame me for her death,” Sadeghi told the news website Roozonline at the time. “Our house has become hell … My father tells me that you killed your mother and I don’t want you at home … I prefer to go back to jail.”

In no time, Sadeghi, a 26-year-old student of philosophy at Tehran’s Allameh Tabatabai University, was indeed taken back to prison. Since then he has spent all but one month in jail. For the past 11 months, Sadeghi has been held in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer.

His father, Hossein Sadeghi, works for the Iranian army and lives in a house given to his family by the state. Having initially blamed his son for what happened to their family, now that he has witnessed the injustices he has suffered Hossein is ready to risk his job and even arrest to speak out for the first time.

“I regret what I said about him in the past,” he told the Guardian on the phone from Tehran. “I haven’t been able to see him and tell him myself … but I’m sorry.” [Continue reading…]

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