Iranian writer and human rights activist Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee was temporarily released from prison on bail on 3 January 2017, reported Amnesty International. She had been in prison since 24 October 2016 to serve a six-year sentence for writing an unpublished story about the practice of stoning as punishment in the country.
The writer’s human rights activist husband Arash Sadeghi, himself imprisoned on a 15-year sentence, began a hunger strike for the release of his wife upon her imprisonment, which ended when she was released.
Ebrahimi Iraee explained to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran:
The [Tehran] Assistant Prosecutor Mr. Hajilou accepted that my case was wrongfully handled, but said it would take time for it to be reviewed. The law says that when a wrongful ruling is made, the accused should go free until a new ruling is issued. I was offered furlough even though I didn’t ask for it. But Arash was in critical condition, so I agreed to take it. I have been given a four-day leave and have to go back to prison on January 7, but I should be allowed to be free until they review my case because the judiciary has agreed my sentence was wrongfully issued.
The writer’s husband’s 71-day hunger strike left him in serious condition: throwing up blood and suffering severe kidney, intestinal and lung problems. His wife explained that she was able to see her husband upon her release and that the prosecutor’s office issued a permit allowing him to be moved to a hospital. According to Amnesty International on 4 January 2017, prison authorities were refusing the transfer and his condition was worsening.
The writer was able to be released on bail by putting up a property bond of 5 billion Rials (approx. $150,000 USD). Authorities had also promised they would release Sadeghi if he could come up with a property bond of 10 million Rials (approx. $300,000 USD).
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Authorities found the unpublished novel in September 2014 when Ebrahimi Iraee was arrested along with her husband, at his workplace.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 – 4 January 2017
Iran’s authorities endangering life of critically ill imprisoned activist by refusing hospital transfer
» International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran – 4 January 2017
Arash Sadeghi’s 71- day hunger strike achieves promise of case review for imprisoned wife
» Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – 3 January 2017
Jailed Iranian activist ends hunger strike after wife’s release
» Amnesty International – 3 January 2017
Update: Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee Iranian writer and human rights activist released on bail today
» International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran – 30 December 2016
Huge Twitter storm in support of imprisoned Iranian activist on hunger strike
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