On the morning of 24 October 2016, Iranian authorities broke through the front door of writer and activist Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee’s home, arrested her and took her to the women’s ward of Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison to begin serving a six-year sentence on charges of “insulting Islamic sanctities” and “spreading proganda” in an unpublished novel about the practice of stoning as punishment in the country, reported Amnesty International on 24 October 2016.
“Freemuse calls for the immediate release of Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee,” Ole Reitov, Freemuse Executive Director, said. “We continue to be troubled by the growing persecution of artists in Iran by authorities and religious groups.”
On 4 October 2016, Ebrahim Iraee was contacted by authorities ordering her to show up to Evin Prison by noon the next day to begin serving out her sentence, despite her never receiving a written summons as required by law.
Ebrahim Iraee’s husband, activist Arash Sadeghi, himself in prison on a 15-year sentence, has gone on hunger strike protesting her imprisonment.
The discovery of the novel
Ebrahimi Iraee’s novel revolves around a young woman who watches the 2008 film ‘The Stoning of Soraya M’, a true story based on a woman stoned to death for committing adultery, and becomes so enraged that she burns a copy of the Qu’ran.
Authorities found the unpublished novel in September 2014 when Ebrahimi Iraee was arrested along with her husband, at his workplace. They then went to the couple’s house and searched the premises without a warrant, seizing possessions including laptops, notebooks and CDs, according to Amnesty International.
At the time, Ebrahimi Iraee was detained for 20 days without being able to see her family or a lawyer and was held in solitary confinement for the first three days. At times during her harsh interrogations, she could hear her husband in another room being tortured.
While Ebrahimi Iraee was released, her husband was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of “spreading propaganda against the system”, “gathering and colluding against national security” and “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic”.
» Amnesty International – 24 October 2016:
Iran: Writer arrested in violent raid on her house following prison sentence for story about stoning
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