“Be My Daughter’s Voice,” Pleads Mother of Hunger-Striking Activist Serving Seven Years
Imprisoned children and human rights activist Atena Daemi has been stricken with a kidney infection nine days after going on hunger strike to protest a new sentence issued against her and her sisters following a complaint by the Revolutionary Guards.
“Because of her hunger strike, Atena has lost a lot of weight and unfortunately, she is not even taking the antibiotics prescribed by the prison clinic to treat her kidney infection,” a source close to the Daemi family told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on April 17, 2017.
That day, after visiting her daughter in prison on April 16, Masoumeh Nemati wrote a letter, a copy of which was received by CHRI.
“The authorities are not paying any attention (to Atena’s hunger strike). They are very busy with election slogans and can’t hear the voice of her worried mother or sad father,” she wrote.
“So, I am turning to the world, international organizations, defenders of children and human rights and all the media to be the voice of my Atena,” she said.
“Stop telling me that because of the [May 19] elections, this is not the right time,” added Nemati. “My daughter’s life is in danger. Be the voice of my daughter.”
In March 2017, Branch 1163 of the Quds Criminal Court added 91-days to Daemi’s seven-year prison sentence for her peaceful activism after she complained that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) used excessive force while arresting her at her home in Tehran and transferring her to Evin Prison on November 26, 2016.
The IRGC responded by accusing Daemi of “resisting agents carrying out their duty” and “insulting agents while on duty.”
In addition to Daemi’s sentence, the court also issued suspended, 91-day sentences to Daemi’s co-defendants and sisters, Onsieh and Hanieh, prompting her hunger strike.
“I would rather die than be a slave to tyranny,” wrote Daemi in a letter to judicial authorities dated April 8, 2017, when she began her hunger strike. “I will not let the security agencies trample their own laws and abuse our families as a means of psychological torture to create a climate of fear.”
An informed source close to the Daemi family told CHRI that the complaint filed by Daemi against the IRGC agents has still not been processed by the judiciary.
“They have not investigated Atena’s complaint against the IRGC, but she and her sisters were prosecuted and given prison sentences after the IRGC sued them,” said the source.
Shortly after her arrest, Daemi accused the IRGC agents of using pepper spray when they raided her home on November 26.
“They acted as if they had come to arrest a dangerous fugitive,” she wrote in a letter. “When asked to produce a warrant, they attacked me.”
“One of the agents, who I’m embarrassed to say was a woman, started to beat me,” she added. “Then, when my younger sister tried to intervene, she beat her on the chest, too.”