“Because I Complained I Was Arrested Again,” Says Payman Aref
Almost a month after the arrest of student activist Payman Aref, his wife told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that authorities are not providing any causes for his arrest and her attempts to find out about his case have been futile.
On 30 October 2011, Aref was arrested long with two other political activists while he was visiting Neda Agha Soltan’s grave to read the Fatiha prayer, an Iranian mourning tradition. They were transferred to Ward 350 of Evin Prison the next day. Aref is currently in prison for “propagating against the regime.”
“There is no one being held accountable. While the Tehran Prosecutor says his case file was referred to the Revolutionary Court, the Court says it never arrived.” Samira Jamshidi, Aref’s wife, told the Campaign. “Payman is currently in Ward 350 of Evin Prison, and we really don’t know what to do so he can be freed.”
On 9 October 2011, was released from Evin prison after completing his one-year sentence. His sentence included receiving 74 lashes on the charge of insulting the President, which authorities of Branch 26 of the Revolutionary COurt executed just before his release. Right after his release, Aref openly criticized the way in which the flogging sentence was carried out, and filed a complaint against Evin Prison Court employees.
Jamshidi also told the Campaign that Payman’s lawyer still hasn’t seen the case file but from what they can tell his charge is speaking out about his flogging sentence. “Payman himself said he only complained about getting flogged by official and unofficial Evin Prison Court authorities and didn’t propagate against the regime. Because he complained he was arrested again.”
Describing her husband’s situation, Jamshidi told the Campaign that since his arrest, she has only spoken to Aref twice and only for a few minutes, but couldn’t visit him in person. “Well, either way this situation is quite illegal and a way of seeking personal revenge. He seems unhappy and angry. The first time we spoke he said that the bail price was set at $20,000 (20 million toman) and was awaiting his release. But the second time we spoke when I told him that Evin Prison Court doesn’t have his case file yet Payman was disappointed.”