Hoda Saber — Blindfolded in Solitary for 14 Days
Hoda Saber, a prisoner of conscience in Evin Prison, had disappeared for two whole weeks before his family heard any news about him. His wife, Fahimeh Jamshidi, spoke recently with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. She said that his family met with him at Evin Prison and during the meeting, Saber expressed astonishment about his arrest. He said that during his interrogations, he was asked about the “Zahedan Project.”
“Yesterday, one of the people who went to visit his relative in prison informed us that it was visitation day. Mr. Saber’s two sons and his sister went to Evin and were able to visit with him through the booth,” said Jamshidi. “The Zahedan Project is something that Mr. Saber, as a professional researcher, has been working on for the Ministry of Housing. The project aims to create and increase jobs for the deprived people of Zahedan,” she said.
“He has a heart condition and suffers from high cholesterol. He has lost a lot of weight and I am concerned whether he is receiving proper medical attention in prison or not. Mr. Saber was astonished after being arrested again. It appears the reason for his re-arrest is to ask questions about the Zahedan project,” Jamshidi said.
“This is a government project and there is no problem about it. Mr. Saber traveled to Zahedan in this heat and taught literacy classes to poor people free of charge. Instead of thanking him, he is arrested and interrogated, asking him why he did it! Mr. Saber offered to take them to Zahedan on his own expense so that they could see up close for themselves what kind of work is being done there,” she added.
“Since he was abducted, he was kept blindfolded in a solitary cell for 14 days. He was in Evin Prison’s Ward 2-A. He has been transferred to General Ward 350 since last Saturday. I am very upset for having to visit him through a booth. If they give us another booth visit I won’t go, because it is not worthy of a thinker of this country to be in the same place as smugglers and murderers. Especially because he has not committed any crimes,” Jamshidi continued.
“Even when his lawyer, Mr. Sharif, went to the Revolutionary Courts, he was told that the court has not issued a ruling in his case. I mean no one even knows what his crime is. There has never been any arrest warrant for him. When they arrested him they said that they had called him on the phone and that he should have turned himself in. This claim is untrue. They told him on the phone that he would be receiving a written summons,” Jamshidi emphasized.
“I have requested a meeting with the Prosecutor, but I have not received a reply yet,” she said.
Hoda Saber was first arrested in 1999 along with other political activists referred to as “nationalist-religious.” He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 10 years’ deprivation from social activities in a lower court. The appeals court reduced his sentence to 5.5 years in prison and his case has remained suspended since.