Child Rights Activist’s Mother Pleas for Help for Son’s Ten-Year Prison Sentence
Ten months after his arrest, children’s rights activist Omid Alishenas has been sentenced to ten years in prison for “assembly and collusion and propaganda against the state,” and “insulting the Supreme Leader.”
Mr. Alishenas’ mother told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the family is in shock following the sentencing. “This sentence is unfair and cruel. Omid’s activities should not have brought him 10 years in prison,” she said.
Simin Eyvazzadeh told the Campaign that her son’s lawyer has appealed the ruling, “but with this heavy sentence, we are really worried that his sentence would not be reduced too much at appeal.”
“They always told me not to disseminate information and that this would work in Omid’s favor, but it resulted in ten years in prison for my son. I am not going to keep quiet anymore, and I ask everyone for help to change my son’s heavy sentence. I want his release after ten months in detention,” Ms. Eyvazzadeh added.
Security agents arrested Omid Alishenas, 32, a civil engineer who is a children’s rights and civil activist, at his home in Tehran on September 4, 2014. He was held inside the IRGC’s Ward 2-A for nearly nine months under “temporary detention” orders, before being transferred to Evin Prison’s Ward 8. His trial was held on March 5, 2015 at Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Courts under Judge Moghisseh, and his lawyer was served with the verdict on May 13, 2015.
“Omid is so upset. He did not expect such a verdict at all. When he was first arrested, they kept saying he would be released in a couple of weeks, and then the investigative judge in the case once told Omid himself that his punishment would be a maximum of six months to one year in prison. Now he faces such a heavy sentence after nearly ten months in prison,” Mr. Alishenas’ mother told the Campaign.
“Omid was a children’s rights activist. He taught the kids how to paint and he set up painting exhibitions for them. He had also visited families of several political prisoners or those who had been executed, and he was arrested based on these activities. On the day he was arrested, the agents confiscated his computer hard disk, his CD’s, USB flash drives, and his cell phone, and based on information they extracted from them, they built up the charges against him,” Ms Eyvazzadeh continued.
“For example, because of the jokes they saw on his cell phone, they made up the charge of “insulting the Supreme Leader” for him. But these jokes exist on half of all Iranian cell phones! Omid did nothing to cause insult,” said Omid Alishenas’ mother.
Simin Eyvazzadeh told the Campaign that the confiscated items have not been returned yet. “When they were taking Omid’s things, they said that we could have them back three days later. I have tried twice, and Omid’s lawyer wrote a letter once, but they have responded that they would review our request,” she said.
Omid Alishenas and four other young individuals, Atena Daemi, Ali Nouri, Atena Feraghdani, and Aso Rostami, were separately interrogated in the same case. Atena Feraghdani’s case was later reviewed independently, and she was eventually sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison. [Link: https://iranhumanrights.org/2015/06/atena-faraghdani-2/] Atena Daemi was sentenced to 14 years in prison. [Link:https://iranhumanrights.org/2015/06/atena-daemi-3/] The Campaign does not have any information about the cases of Ali Nouri and Aso Rostami.