Activist’s Mother Decries 14-Year Sentence for Her Daughter’s Peaceful Activities
Atena Daemi, a children’s rights and civil activist, was sentenced to 14 years in prison, receiving the combined maximum penalty for each of her charges, as a result of her peaceful activism.
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Daemi’s mother, Massoumeh Nemati, relayed that Daemi had been sentenced to seven years in prison for “assembly and collusion and propaganda against the state,” to three years for “insulting the Supreme Leader and the sacred,” and to four years for “concealing crime evidence.”
“Atena was taken to Judge Moghisseh’s office on Sunday, May 10, 2015, to be informed of her sentence. I went to court, too, to see her. I was feeling very bad that day, full of worry. When she came out of Judge Moghisseh’s office, to avoid upsetting me, she told me that she had been sentenced to seven years in prison. But a few days later, her lawyer was served with her sentence ruling and he informed us that my daughter has been sentenced to 14 years in prison,” Massoumeh Nemati told the Campaign.
Daemi, 27, was arrested on October 21, 2014, by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and has been in detention in Evin Prison ever since. Her trial was held on March 7, 2015.
Atena Daemi and four other young individuals —Omid Alishenas, Ali Nouri, Atena Feraghdani, and Aso Rostami—were separately interrogated in the same case. Atena Feraghdani’s case was later reviewed independently, and the three other individuals’ trial was held on March 4, 2015
Massoumeh Nemati told the Campaign that her daughter’s lawyer has appealed the court’s decision. “We hope that she would be acquitted from some of her charges, reducing her prison sentence. At any rate, following the appeal court’s decision, Article 134 of the New Islamic Penal Code will be observed through which Atena will be sentenced to the maximum punishment of [only] her most serious charge.”
Asked about Ms. Daemi’s physical and psychological conditions, her mother told the Campaign, “Atena is really stressed after hearing the verdict; she is not well at all. Last week she had stomach bleeding and high blood pressure and she was told at the prison infirmary that her treatment outside of the prison would need a request from the Prosecutor. We took the necessary steps and now we hope that she would be transferred to a hospital for treatment next week.”
“My request is that my daughter’s case is reviewed fairly at appeals level. Based upon which evidence was she sentenced to 14 years in prison? They say that her participation in the Kobani protest gathering represents ‘assembly and collusion.’ But it must be determined whether her presence at this gathering has jeopardized national security [or not]. It is not clear based on which instances my daughter has been charged,” said Massoumeh Nemati.
“Atena says herself that she doesn’t have any political knowledge to be considered a political prisoner! She was not a member of any political parties or groups, and has never engaged in political activities. My daughter is not a criminal who should be serving 14 or 7, or any other number of years in prison. She is now 27, and is in poor psychological condition. How much longer should she stay in prison? I request her release. If her case is reviewed with justice, she should not spend another day in prison,” the activist’s mother added.
A source close to Atena Daemi’s case told the Campaign in May that, “She was accused of ‘insulting the Supreme Leader and the sacred’ because of some jokes and some Shahin Najafi [protest] songs found on her cell phone. Other than these, there is no other [evidence of] actions Atena may have taken [to support] these two charges. She has repeatedly apologized and explained that she meant no insult.”
The source also told the Campaign that all her charges are based on her posts on Facebook, information stored on her cellular phone, and her participation in gatherings against the death penalty and gatherings in support of the children of Kobani in Syria.