500 Days In Prison Without Furlough for Human Rights Activist
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, father of Mehdi Khodaee said that 500 days after his son’s arrest, he has not been allowed a single day of furlough. “After my son’s arrest in March 2010, I repeatedly appeared at the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office to find information about his status, but I was not given any straight answers about his condition, until Mehdi himself called us in April 2010 from the [IRGC] 2-A Ward of Evin and we found out that he was well,” he said.
Mehdi Khodaee, a human rights activist and former Secretary of Shahr-e Rey Azad University’s Islamic Association, was sentenced in 2010 to three years in prison on charges of “propagating against the regime” and “acting against national security” through membership in the Human Rights Activists Group. The lower court’s decision was upheld at appeals level. In a separate case in 2009, he had been sentenced to four years in prison for his student activism. As both sentences were upheld by the Tehran Province Appeals Court, Khodaee is currently serving his seven year prison term.
“During the first four months of his imprisonment, he was only allowed to make a phone call once a week. After several visits to the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office, we were finally able to have our first visit with him in June 2010, and found him to be in good spirits,” said Khodaee’s father.
“Seventeen months after my son’s arrest, he remains deprived of furlough. We followed up about this many times, but it was futile. Our last visit with my son was on 8 August. Mehdi said during that meeting that he and all the other political prisoners were so happy to hear about the leaves granted to Bahareh Hedayat and Ahmad Zeidabadi … considering the recent furlough leaves for several prisoners, we hope that our Mehdi can also be allowed leave after more than a year and a half,” added Khodaee’s father.
“Seven years is a long time. We worry for Mehdi’s future a lot. A seven-year sentence for human rights activism is a heavy sentence and my son is entitled to furlough. During this time, we have only been able to visit with him inside the prison. And despite repeated follow-ups, all we can do is be patient and wait.”