Another Mother Denied Visits With Children Under Evin Prison’s New Director
Following additional restrictions imposed on political prisoners in Tehran’s Evin Prison by its newly appointed Director Gholamreza Ziaei, Maryam Akbari-Monfared’s visits with her family members have been canceled, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.
Akbari-Monfared’s husband Hassan Jafari told CHRI on October 20, 2019, that the denial of her visitation rights was particularly painful since they had fought so long to obtain them.
“After a lot of back and forth, we finally got a letter that our young daughter can have weekly face-to-face meetings with her mother,” he said. “But now that Ziaei has been put in charge, he’s making up his own laws. He won’t allow it. He even scrapped my visits with Maryam, which were every other week. They’re being a pain. We’re having real problems.”
Since Ziaei’s appointment, fellow prisoner of conscience Narges Mohammadi has also been denied phone contact with her young children who live in France and cannot travel to Iran.
Imprisoned in the Tehran-based jail since December 2009 for allegedly engaging in political opposition, Akbari-Monfared, 50, is eligible for release after serving more than 10 years of her 15-year prison sentence, but the court has refused to approve her petitions.
Her conviction was based on alleged phone calls with her relatives who were members of the banned Mojahedin-e Khalq opposition group (MEK, also known as MKO and PMOI), and for allegedly having visited them once in Iraq. Akbari-Monfared has maintained her pleas of innocence and consistently denied having any ties to or sympathies with the group.
“Based on the Islamic Penal Code and other laws, my wife should be freed,” Jafari told CHRI. “But not only are they refusing to do so after 10 years of imprisonment, they have not even allowed her to go on furlough for even an hour. And now they are making problems for face-to-face visits, too.”
Furlough, temporary leave typically granted to prisoners in Iran for a variety of familial, holiday, and medical reasons, is routinely denied to political prisoners as a form of additional punishment.
“She has been in prison for more than 10 years and served two-thirds of her sentence, but they are opposing her release,” he added. “We petitioned the Supreme Court on three occasions and pursued other legal channels but have not gotten anywhere.”
Ziaei, who was appointed as the director of Evin Prison in July 2019, was in charge of the Kahrizak Detention Center when at least five detainees who had been arrested at Tehran’s 2009 mass street protests died there after being tortured.
He also served as director of Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, where there have been numerous protests by political prisoners demonstrating against abuse and inhumane living conditions.
Read this article in Persian.