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Women’s Rights Activist Held Captive by the IRGC for Protesting Against Recent Acid Attacks in Iran

December 05, 2014

 

Mahdieh Golroo was arrested by Iranian authorities on October 26th for participating in a protest against recent acid attacks in Isfahan.

Mahdieh Golroo was arrested by Iranian authorities on October 26th for participating in a protest against recent acid attacks in Isfahan.

Persian2English translation of a report by Fereshteh Ghazi for Rooz   Despite conflicting reports from Iranian security, judicial and military officials, the perpetrators of the recent acid attacks on women in Isfahan have not been arrested let alone identified. Instead, Mahdieh Golroo, who along with other [women’s rights and] civil society activists had protested in front of the Iranian Parliament against the acid attacks, was arrested by Iranian authorities and thrown in prison on October 26th.

More than one month has passed since Golroo’s arrest and Iranian authorities are still holding her in a solitary confinement cell located in the *IRGC controlled ward of Evin Prison (Ward 2-A). Her husband, Vahid Lalipour was finally granted a visit with her last week.

Lalipour tells Rooz: Each time I follow up with the Prosecutor’s office they tell me that the interrogations have not yet been completed. [They] say for as long as the case file [has] not yet been completed they cannot provide me with any answers. They said the same thing to me yesterday.

The interrogator assigned to Golroo’s case file informed her family of the charges: “Engaging in propagated activities” and “Gathering and collusion”.

Lalipour says: We were able to visit Mahdieh once last week. Psychologically and physically she was doing well and just kept on repeating the whole time: ‘This time around [I] only feel sorry for [myself], because I’ve done nothing wrong and yet they still treat [me] this way.’ Mahdieh did nothing, [though] her arrest was so shocking to me that I thought perhaps she was involved in something that I didn’t know about. This is why I have been insisting to know more, but I have since realized that she really has done nothing. To avoid any problems Mahdieh tried real hard to not get involved in anything [that would be considered unlawful], but [they] still arrested her. The protest outside the Parliament was completely ordinary. You can pass by the Parliament on any given day and you will see people sitting [in front of the building] protesting against something.

Every other day Mahdieh is reportedly able to call home, she provides a brief update on her wellbeing. When she got in touch on Saturday  she asked me to follow up on her case to find out what the interrogator has said. Yesterday I went to the Prosecutor’s office, but they would not provide me with any answers.

This photo was taken at the recent protest in front of the Iranian Parliament against the acid attacks in Isfahan. Among the activists present were Narges Mohammadi (far left), human rights activist and the VP of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, an organization headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. Mahdieh Golroo is on the right of Mohammadi holding a sign.

This photo was taken at the recent protest in front of the Iranian Parliament against the acid attacks in Isfahan. Among the activists present were Narges Mohammadi (far left), human rights activist and the VP of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, an organization headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. Mahdieh Golroo is on the right of Mohammadi holding a sign.

There were journalists and other activists who were arrested for protesting against the acid attacks in Isfahan, however they have been released, but Iranian authorities are still interrogating Golroo.

Recently more than 300 civil rights activists signed a letter made out to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and stated, “Mahdieh Golroo is among the women who participated in and supported your presidency campaign because of your hopes and promises of: ending the discrimination against women, developing civil society organizations, and ending persecution for civil activities. We ask you, isn’t jailing Mahdieh against your campaign promises? Prison is a place for the acid attackers who have made the cities of Iran unsafe for women, not a place for women like Mahdieh who are committed to upholding the rule of law.

This report was originally published in Persian by Rooz Online on Monday, December 1, 2014

* Though Ward 2-A is part of Evin Prison, it is technically a prison within a prison, the ward is operated independently by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and it falls outside the jurisdiction of Iran’s State Prisons Organization.  This means that the officials in this ward are not accountable to the head of Evin Prison. At the current time Mahdieh Golroo’s fate lies in the hands of the IRGC. Iran’s current President, Hassan Rouhani, has close relations to parts of the IRGC.

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