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Prisoner Of Conscience Threatened With Additional Jail Time

Maryam Akbari Monfared
Maryam Akbari Monfared

“Prisoner of conscience Maryam Akbari Monfared has been threatened with an additional three-year prison term and exile to a remote prison,” Amnesty International, AI, said in a statement on Monday 22 May.

Maryam Akbari Monfared has been seeking an official investigation into the 1988 execution of thousands of prisoners, in Iran while they were serving their sentences.

She filed a formal complaint in October 2016 with the prosecutor’s office. To date, the authorities have not processed the complaint.

Threatening her with an additional three-year prison “was in reprisal for her open letters seeking truth and justice for two of her siblings [one brother and one sister] who were extrajudicially executed in 1988. She has been held in Tehran’s Evin prison since 2009 serving a 15-year sentence,” said AI.

According to Amnesty International, “On 13 May, Maryam Akbari Monfared’s husband, Hassan Jafari Hatam, was summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence for interrogation. He was given no reasons for the summons. Hassan Jafari Hatam has said that at the Ministry, intelligence officials verbally abused him and threatened that his wife would face an additional three-year prison term and exile to a remote prison in Sistan and Baluchistan province, south-eastern Iran.”

Maryam Akbari Monfared has been imprisoned since December 2009, serving a 15year prison sentence for “enmity against God” (moharebeh). Her conviction, according to AI, is solely based on the fact that she had made phone calls to her relatives, who are members of a banned group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), and had visited them once in Iraq.

“Amnesty International understands that Maryam Akbari Monfared was not provided with a written verdict, setting out the evidence and the legal reasoning for her conviction.

Maryam Akbari Monfared’s sister Roghieh and brother Abdolreza were among several thousand political prisoners, serving their sentences were cut off from the outside world in July 1988, and subsequently executed in secret and without trial. They were then dumped into mass unmarked graves,” AI says, adding: “Most of those executed were prisoners who had been imprisoned for political reasons, including prisoners of conscience, and had already spent years in prison for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedoms of expression, association and assembly.”

In an open letter leaked from Evin prison in October 2016, Maryam Akbari Monfared wrote: “Three of my brothers and one of my sisters were executed in the 1980s… My youngest brother Abdolreza was 17 years old when he was arrested for distributing PMOI literature and sentenced to three years in prison. The authorities refused to release him for years after he completed his sentence and executed him in 1988… My other brother Alireza was arrested on 8 September 1981. He was tried and executed 10 days later… On the seventh night of mourning for my brother Alireza, security forces raided our house and arrested a number of guests as well as my mother and sister, Roghieh. My mother was released after five months but my sister was sentenced to eight years in prison. She was executed in August 1988 while she was just a year away from the end of her sentence.”

A group of four, nicknamed as the “Death Quartet”, including Ebrahim Raeisi, Rouhani’s main challenger in May 19, 2017 presidential election, was in charge for convicting thousands of prisoners to death.

Another member of the ‘Death Quartet’, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi is a member of President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet, as Minister of Justice.