“The People Who Flogged Payman Are Upset Because He Spoke Out”
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Samira Jamshidi, wife of student activist Payman Aref, spoke about her husband’s case following his 1 November detention. Aref had been flogged and released on 9 October after serving 11 months in Evin Prison. “One day after he was arrested along with Asal Esmailizadeh and Sharar Konoor Tabrizi, they were released and ordered to appear at Branch 6 of Evin Prison the next day at 8:00 a.m. The next day they were interrogated again and Asal and Sharar were released. But they said Payman must remain in detention. Paymans lawyers had seen a letter in his case file, setting his bail at $20,000. That night I quickly prepared the bail money. This morning at 8:00 a.m. I went to the Prosecutor’s office with the lawyer,” said Jamshidi.
Jamshidi was extremely upset about her treatment by the court officials. “I don’t accept the bail ruling at all, because I know that they are upset because of Payman’s complaint about his flogging, and this is why they detained him again. Really nobody can justify arresting someone because he was reading the Fatiha prayer at a grave. Even so, I obtained the bail amount they set. But I was really mistreated at the courts. Nobody gave me a straight answer. They didn’t even let the lawyer read the file so he could understand his client’s charges. I recognized the person who delivered the flogging sentence to Payman. He pretended in the Prosecutor’s Office not to know who Payman Aref is and what his charges were. Then someone came and said that the investigative judge hadn’t arrived, and another person said that the Judge hadn’t arrived either. He said, ‘Wait, we’ll let you know.’ Then at 12:30 they told me his bail orders hadn’t been issued at all.”
“No matter how long they stretch [his time in detention], it’s useless because they don’t have an excuse for holding Payman longer. I know this is illegal and I think that the Tehran Prosecutor is unaware of what happened here, because he is away on his Hajj pilgrimage. I don’t think the Ministry of Intelligence would agree with this either. I think it’s a completely personal matter. The people who flogged Payman and who were present for his flogging are upset because Payman did not keep silent and did not let them get away with it and spoke out about it. They now want to persecute him,” said Jamshidi.
She also spoke about her husband’s condition in prison, saying, “This morning Payman contacted me and said he is in Ward 350 of Evin Prison, and fortunately he is in good spirits. But the important thing is that he said today that they informed him of his $20,000 bail, something his lawyer had also seen in the case file. Even the Branch 6 authorities agreed to this in the morning, but at the last minute when they saw that the bail was ready and Payman would be greed, they reneged on their word. The authorities’ conduct was really strange today.”