On 24 October 2016, Iranian intelligence authorities broke the apartment door of writer and human rights activist Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, raided her apartment and took her by force to serve a 6 year prison sentence for writing a story on stoning women in Islam, that was never published.
Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee 35 years old, is the wife of political prisoner Arash Sadeghi , 36 who is now serving a 19 year prison sentence in Iranian prisons. The family has suffered much mistreatment since the 2009 disputed presidential election in Iran and have been in and out of prison. They have also lost their mother who had a stroke the minute the authorities raided their home in 2009.
When the intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Guards came to arrest her husband, they raided their apartment – without a warrant – and found drafts of stories that Ebrahimi Iraee had written.
One of the confiscated drafts was a story about stoning women to death for adultery – never published, never presented to anyone. The narrative followed the story of a protagonist that watched a movie about stoning of women under Islamic law for adultery. The sentencing of a woman to stoning for adultery angers the protagonist prompting the burning of the Quran by the protagonist in the story.
This unpublished story is the reason that Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee is now taken to serve a 6-years setence in prison. Because of this unpublished story she in convicted of “insulting religious sanctities” and “propaganda against the state” – effectively for using her imagination as Philip Luther of Amnesty International puts it.
The alleged “propaganda” never occurred since the story was never published.
On October 4 Ebrahimi Iraee had received a threatening phone call from a man introducing himself as the agent of the Centre for the Implementation of Prison Sentences ordering her to go to the notorious Evin prison to start serving her 6 year sentence.
Ebrahimi Iraee was never summoned to prison. By law, a phone call is not a legal order and prison authorities must send written notices announcing the start date of sentence serving. Despite this authorities took her by force and broke the door of her apartment – a spectacle that they have repeated a number of times when arresting political prisoners in Iran or when taking them for sentence serving.
Ebrahimi Iraee husband has also been mistreated. Arash Sadeghi, a student and human rights activist was arrested numerous times since the 2009 disputed presidential election in Iran. In the last court session in 2016, he was sentenced to and overall 19 years in prison.
Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee’s husband, Arash Sadeghi also started serving his sentence without a legal summons. On June 7, 2016 when he visited Evin prison to ask about his sentence start date (to avoid the often violent spectacle of taking prisoners to start sentencing), he was taken inside by force.
“Arash did not want agents to storm our house to arrest him,” his wife, Golrokh Iraee, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran on June 8. “He just wanted to know how much time we had to prepare for prison.”
Sadeghi is a political prisoner and student activist who has been in and out of prison since 2009.
In 2015 he was sentence to 15 year in prison for “assembly and conspiracy against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” “defamation of state in cyberspace,” and “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic.” In addition to the 15 year sentence Sadeghi recived in 2015, he is also serving a four-year prison sentence issued in 2010 for “assembly and conspiracy against national security” and “propaganda against the state.” These charged are for his participation in the nationwide protests against the 2009 presidential elections in Iran.
The husband and wife’s sentences were upheld by the Appeals Court in Dec 2015.
This family story is particularly tragic as Sadeghi’s mother Farahnaz Dargahi suffered a heart attack in 2009 when the authorities raided their home to arrest her son. She was taken to hospital on the day of the raid but died four days after the incident in the hospital.