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Activist Says Severely Beaten And Detained After Attending Court

Soheila Hejab, a political and civil rights activist, says Revolutionary Guard agents brutalized her before arrest. Undated photo from Twitter.

In a voice recording sent from Qarchak prison on Monday Soheila Hejab, a political and civil rights activist, has said that agents of the Revolutionary Guard brutalized and arrested her after attending an appeals court hearing on Saturday.

In her message, the activist says her assailants held her by her hair, dragged her on the ground and kicked her before taking her to the notorious Qarchak prison.

According to Ms. Hejab her Revolutionary Guard interrogator has repeatedly threatened to have her killed by dangerous criminals in prison.

She also says her interrogators are planning to transfer her to a Revolutionary Guard safe house for "long solitary confinement and interrogations", She has pleaded for help from the media in her audio message.

Ms. Hejab who comes from a Kurdish family in Kermanshah was first arrested in January 2018 in Shiraz on charges of "assembly, collusion and propaganda against the system". She was rearrested on June 6, 2019 by the Revolutionary Guard Intelligence Organization and taken to Evin Prison where she said she was so badly beaten by prison guards that she had to be taken to hospital. However, they returned her to prison before any treatment.

On March 14, Ms. Hejab was temporarily freed on heavy bail. A court presided by the notorious judge Mohammad Moghiseh on March 18 sentenced her to 18 years in prison for "propaganda against the system", "forming a women's rights group" and "calling for a referendum to change the Constitution". The Court of Appeals has now upheld the sentence.

In a letter from prison on January 13 the lawyer and activist wrote about the brutal suppression of protesters by regime security forces in November 2019 and January 2020 and called for "toppling the tyrannical regime". Ms. Hejab is known to have supported monarchism and the exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi who has repeatedly said the Islamic Republic must be overthrown.

Authorities of the Judiciary have not offered any reasons for Ms. Hejab's recent arrest or any details about the charges brought against her.