Translator’s Note: On January 3, 2017, Arash Sadeghi, an Iranian political prisoner ended his 72-day hunger strike after his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi-Iraei was given a prison furlough. Sadeghi, a former student activist, is serving a 19-year sentence for charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” and “propaganda against the state.” He started his hunger strike on October 24, 2016 after Golrokh Ebrahimi-Iraei was sentenced to six years in prison for writing an unpublished story about the barbaric practice of stoning women. Below are large excerpts from Sadeghi’s open letter to his supporters around the world.
Open Letter from Iranian Political Prisoner, Arash Sadeghi
January 6, 2017
Translated by Frieda Afary
1. First I need to emphasize that the main reason and motivation for my hunger strike was not simply to demand the release of an innocent person, but to demand a human right. It was a protest against the unjust and totalitarian security establishment and against the violation of human rights and the rights of citizens. The focus of my protest has been on my wife’s trial in absentia, her lack of opportunity to defend herself, and the resulting heavy sentence which she received. Her prison sentence is not based on any evidence against her according to the judicial system, common law or even Islamic Sharia law. It goes beyond violating the rights of my wife, Golrokh, and violates all moral and human principles . . .
- In addition to the injustice done to my wife in the course of [the court’s] examination of the case against her, her unpublished story on stoning was used as a pretext and as evidence. Furthermore, stoning was considered [by the court] as a sanctity, the violation of which was made the basis of the unjust judgment in the trial in absentia. This convinced me that something had to be done to end this dirty practice of creating false charges. A step had to be taken to expose this gross violation and to rethink an issue that has no legal basis (according to the very laws made up by the Islamic Republic) or according to Sharia Law.
- In a violent attack, armed agents from the Pasdaran’s (IRGC’s) department of intelligence banged on our door with heavy metal bars and aimed to break the door in order to violently arrest my wife and take her to jail. This was in many ways an inhuman behavior. Of course, over the course of the years, we have repeatedly seen many of our friends and loved ones subjected to this behavior and the resulting damages. Ultimately, this forced me to put my life on the line to express the loudest possible protest against this injustice and to ask a jury as large as the people of Iran and all justice-seeking human beings around the world to seek justice for my wife.
I know that it is my responsibility to be their collective voice. From now on, I will do the best that I can in this regard. Concerning my wife, I hope that a review of her case by a court of appeals lays the basis for her acquittal. If for any reason and despite the judicial system’s admission of her innocence, the security forces seek to charge her and once again imprison her, I will respond to this violation and will live up to my responsibility and commitment to support her by going on hunger strike again . . .