Sit-in by Political Prisoner’s Mother to Protest Lack of Due Process
The mother of Ghoncheh Ghavami, a prisoner on hunger strike since October 1, has started a sit-in outside Evin Prison to protest her daughter’s detention for more than 100 days without access to her lawyer. “Today is one hundred days since my daughter’s arrest. None of the authorities seem to have heard us during this time. I have come to stand in front of Evin Prison this morning, and I won’t move until my daughter is released,” Ghavami’s mother told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran on October 6, 2014.
“I was able to visit with her on Saturday, October 4. She has lost weight and her psychological state was not good at all. The officials hadn’t allowed me and her father to visit with Ghoncheh in prison for 18 days. When we finally saw her on October 6, Ghoncheh said that ‘my only hope is to visit with you guys once a week, and if I can’t see you I will die.’ My daughter is not well in solitary confinement and in this state of limbo, and we don’t know what to do from the outside,” said Ghavami’s mother, Sousan Moshtaghian.
Asked whether she has any more requests of the Iranian judicial officials, Moshtaghian said, “I have no more requests. My daughter has been in detention for a hundred days. We went anywhere we thought we could be heard during this time. Now I stay behind this door until my daughter is released.”
Ghoncheh Ghavami’s mother told the Campaign that an individual by the last name of Dehlavi had gone to see her daughter in prison, to encourage her to accept him as her lawyer in the case. “This man who introduced himself as a lawyer went to visit my daughter in prison last week and told her that if Ghoncheh accepts the charges, he will help her to be released from prison. Ghoncheh did not accept it and called us later to see if we had sent this guy. My daughter was angry and worried. I don’t know how someone can go to visit a prisoner to ask her to accept him as a lawyer without permission from the family or the prisoner herself. I have filed a complaint against this individual and I will pursue my complaint,” Ghavami’s mother told the Campaign.
Asked whether Ghoncheh Ghavami’s lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaee, had been able to visit with her in prison so far, Moshtaghian said, “Unfortunately, he has not been able to visit with her yet, but he was allowed to read Ghoncheh’s case on October 1.” Asked whether her daughter has accepted the charges of “propaganda against the state” during her interrogations, her mother said, “During the interrogations, Ghoncheh was under circumstances where she thought that if she accepted this charge, she would be more quickly released on bail. Ghoncheh accepted this charge hoping for release, but she no longer accepts this charge.”
In an interview with ISNA, Alizadeh Tabatabaee confirmed that his client had been accused of “propaganda against the state,” and that her indictment was forwarded to Branch One of Tehran Revolutionary Court for review and scheduling of the trial date, adding that he would be preparing to fight the charges in court.
Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, who holds dual citizenship from Iran and the United Kingdom, is a law graduate from SOAS, University of London. She returned to Iran in March 2014 upon completion of her studies. Ghavami was among a group of women who appeared outside Tehran’s Azadi Sports Stadium on June 25, to attend the Iran-Italy volleyball game. Iranian authorities did not allow the women to attend the event. Ghavami and a group of other women were arrested and transferred to Tehran’s Vozara Complex. They were later released, after they signed a letter of recognizance and their personal belongings were confiscated.
When Ghavami appeared at the Vozara Complex on the morning of June 30 to claim her confiscated belongings, she was arrested without any explanation. During her more than three months in “temporary detention,” the authorities have repeatedly rejected her request for release on bail until her trial date.