UPDATE: On 4 November 2017, poet and activist Dr. Sedigheh Vasmaghi was released on bail after having been detained in Tehran’s Evin prison since 22 October 2017, reported PEN International.
Freemuse originally reported on her detention and trial on 8 November 2017; that article appears below:
Iran: Poet arrested upon return to Iran
On 22 October 2017, poet and activist Dr. Sedigheh Vasmaghi was detained in Tehran’s Evin prison after the 28th Branch of the Revolutionary Court was tried in a 12-minute trial where she was not allowed to speak, reported Freemuse partner organisations International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) and PEN International.
Upon her return to Iran on 14 October, the poet was detained for a few hours at Tehran’s International Airport and upon being released was told she needed to appear for further interrogation.
In October 2016, the poet wrote to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that she, along with her husband, intended to return home, reported Center for Human Rights in Iran.
“After enduring five years in exile with my loyal husband, we intend to return to our home. In the fifth and sixth decades of our lives, we are not at an age where we want to suffer in exile,” she wrote. “It will also be difficult for me to go to prison, given my physical condition, especially my extremely weak eyesight. However, I understand that the current ruling establishment has a policy of making the people who return home sorry—a policy that has denied our freedom and forced us to choose between silence, exile, or prison.”
Vasmaghi was forced to flee Iran in March 2011 after receiving an increasing number of police complaints and charges over her writings and peaceful activism. A month before she fled, the Ministry of Security issued an arrest warrant against her.
Since 2012, the poet lived in Uppsala, Sweden, as an ICORN resident. After her residency, she stayed in the city as a research fellow at Uppsala University.