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Amnesty International Calls For Immediate Release Of Anti-Hijab Activist

Saba Kordafshari, an anti-hijab activist who is serving a 15-year sentence in Iran. FILE PHOTO

In a letter to the head of the Islamic Republic's Judiciary on Monday, July 6, Amnesty International (AI) called for the immediate and unconditional release of a civil rights and a women’s rights activist.

Saba Kordafshari, an activist who took part in s campaign against compulsory hijab was arrested in Tehran in August 2018 and transferred to Qarchak Prison a few days later. According to civil society activists, in the early days of her arrest, she was under intense pressure for a "television confession."

Charged with "disruption of public order," she spent one whole year in Quarchak jail, after which they transferred her to Tehran's notorious Evin Prison. She was released in February 2019.

Immediately after her release, she revealed in a letter, "When I saw the situation of prisons closely, especially in Qarchak, I concluded...there are no rights for humans in Iran, let alone respecting human rights in prisons."

Three months later, the Islamic Republic security forces arrested Kordafshari again, confiscating her cell phone, laptop, and other personal effects.

"Saba Kordafshari's access to the medical care has been denied, which she requires for pre-existing gastrointestinal problems that have been exacerbated in prison and from which she is in pain," AI said in its letter, asserting, she needs medical care and should have access to an attorney of her choice.

AI has also called upon the Judiciary to order an independent and impartial investigation into her enforced disappearance, placement in prolonged solitary confinement and lack of access to legal counsel and medical care and ensure that those responsible are held to account.

Branch 26 of Tehran's Revolutionary Court sentenced Kordafshari to fifteen years jail, for "encouraging corruption and prostitution", as well as seven and a half years jail for "assembly and collusion intended for criminal acts against the country's security," and one and half year prison for "propaganda against the regime."

Based on the Islamic Penal code, the 22-year-old woman should serve her longest sentence, fifteen years, behind bars.

In a letter received by Radio Farda last June, her mother had protested to the judiciary for upholding a fifteen-year sentence for her daughter.

Saba's mother, Raheleh Ahmadi, is also a civil rights activist and a political prisoner.

"When will this injustice end? When will lawlessness stop? I will be the voice of my daughter for as long as I breathe," Ms. Ahmadi, who is serving a four-year sentence at Evin Prison, said in her letter.