Iran Releases Seven Political Prisoners on Bail Without Explanation
Six Prisoners Posted Extraordinarily High Bail, Unclear Why Fellow Prisoners of Conscience Remain Jailed
A Christian convert, four journalists and two activists were released from prisons in Iran on October 26, 2019, without any public announcement as to who ordered their long-sought release or why others who’d been imprisoned under similar circumstances were kept behind bars.
Christian convert Ebrahim Firoozi, 34, was released from Rajaee Shahr Prison, west of Tehran. He had been imprisoned on a five-year sentence since 2014 on the charge of “creating a [Christian] group with the intention of disturbing national security.”
A resident of the city of Robat Karim (16 miles southwest of Tehran), Firoozi had also been sentenced to two years in exile in the village of Sarbaz in a remote part of Sistan and Baluchistan Province, but it is not clear if he will be required to go there.
The other six prisoners were released after posting extraordinarily high bail.
Sepideh Qoliyan, a 25-year-old worker’s rights activist, was released from Gharchak Prison in Varamin, south of the capital, on bail set at 1.5 billion tomans ($355,800).
Arrested for supporting striking workers at the Haft Tappeh sugar mill in Shush, Khuzestan Province, and publicly stating that she and fellow detainees had been tortured in the custody of the Intelligence Ministry, Qoliyan had been sentenced in September 2019 to18.6 years in prison, of which she must serve seven if the term is upheld on appeal.
Qoliyan was released a day after ending a four-day hunger strike to protest the Intelligence Ministry’s harassment of her family.
It’s unclear why Haft Tappeh union representative Esmail Bakhshi, who Qoliyan said she had witnessed being tortured, remains imprisoned.
Women and worker’s rights activist Atefeh Rangriz, 31, walked out of Evin Prison in Tehran after posting bail set at one billion tomans ($237,206).
Arrested during a Labor Day rally near Iran’s Parliament on May 1, 2019, the graduate student in sociology had been sentenced to 11.5-year prison and 74 lashes for the charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” and “disturbing public order.”
If upheld upon appeal, she would have to serve at least six years behind bars.
Rangriz had started a hunger strike on October 14 to protest the Intelligence Ministry’s refusal to allow her to be released on bail. It’s not clear whether she was still on hunger strike immediately prior to being released.
Marzieh Amiri, a journalist for the reformist Shargh newspaper, posted bail set at one billion tomans ($237,206) before being freed from Evin Prison.
Arrested along with Rangriz at the Labor Day demonstration in Tehran, Amiri is also currently appealing an 10.5-year prison sentence and 148 lashes for the charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” and “disturbing public order.”
An undergraduate student in sociology at the University of Tehran, Amiri faces at least six years in prison is she loses her appeal.
They had been in jail since January 2019 for their coverage of protests at the Haft Tappeh sugar mill and had both been sentenced on several “national security” charges to 18 years in prison, of which at least seven must be served if upheld on appeal.
Fellow Gam reporter Ali (Amir) Amirgholi was released from Evin Prison on 1.5 billion tomans ($355,800) bail.
Imprisoned since January 2019, Amirgholi had also been convicted of “national security” charges and sentenced to 18 years in prison, of which he would have to serve at least seven if upheld on appeal.
Read this article in Persian.