Aref’s wife, Samira Jamshidi, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that he is on hunger strike in protest of his illegal detention. “He was arrested illegally and now his release is illegally refused,” she said.
“On 24 March, following his hunger strike and a drop in his blood pressure, he was transferred to a hospital. When I went to the hospital, they said that he had had a heart problem, that they had done an EKG on him, hooked him up to an IV, and quickly returned him to prison. I am very worried about his condition,” said Jamshidi.
On 14 March, authorities arrested student activist and member of Iran Freedom Movement Payman Aref, who has been detained multiple times since the June 2009 presidential election.
Jamshidi told the Campaign that her husband’s arrest followed a complaint by Bahram Reshteh Ahmadi, head of Evin Prison Court, that Aref implicated him in carrying out his October 2011 illegal flogging.
“In his interviews with the press after his flogging, Payman had said that assuming his flogging sentence was legal, it was carried out illegally. He was imprisoned for 40 days after this interview, but he was acquitted with the ruling of Branch 26. Payman was told at that court that his other complaints will also be reviewed, because he had filed suits against Mr. Reshteh Ahmadi and others who had been witnesses to his illegal flogging. But in court, not only were his complaints not addressed, he was imprisoned again. This time, Mr. Reshteh Ahmadi personally filed a complaint against him for mentioning his name in interviews and Payman was arrested on charges of ‘propagating falsehoods’ on 14 March. But he was also issued a custodianship bail of $5,000.
Samira Jamshidi explained that the court issued a custodianship bail of $5,000, allowing for the possibility of his release under guardianship. “I pursued his custodianship ruling until 18 March, when I was finally able to secure it and the court accepted it, too. They told me that they would contact us. But they called me that afternoon and told me that there were orders for Payman not to be released. How is that possible?! The custodianship ruling was issued and it was raised, but the prisoner was not released!”
“Hoda Saber did not die of hunger, he died of a drop in his blood pressure and heart problems. I don’t know why these gentlemen don’t get it that such things work against them, too! There is absolutely no reason for keeping Payman in prison. We have supplied the name of a custodian, according to his ruling. He must be released, but I don’t know why they won’t release him!” she told the Campaign.
On 18 July 2009 authorities arrested student activist and member of Iran Freedom Movement Payman Aref. Aref himself reported that he spent 90 days in solitary confinement where he was interrogated and tortured, and one of his teeth was broken.
Branch 26 of Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Aref to one year in prison, a lifetime ban on press activities and membership in political parties, and 76 lashes on the charge of “insulting the President” by publishing an open letter addressed to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dated 23 May 2009, entitled “Do you know what you have done to the university?”
On 8 October 2011, moments before his release, Aref’s flogging sentence was carried out. Aref repeatedly complained and interviewed with the press about the illegal way his flogging sentence was carried out by Evin Prison Court authorities.
The student activist was sent to prison again, but Branch 26 of Tehran Revolutionary Court acquitted and released him after 40 days of detention. He was arrested again on 14 March and is currently being held at Evin Prison.
“In a telephone call with Payman yesterday, I asked him to end his hunger strike, but he said that his continued detention is illegal and that he will continue his strike,” said Jamshidi. “I would like to address the state authorities. I want to say that a lot of lawlessness is taking place in Iran. Some people are acting even against the country’s own laws. I hope that at least some day the law is carried out in this country.”
Photo: Imprisoned activist Payman Aref has been detained multiple times since the June 2009 presidential election.