Mahdieh Golroo, a women’s rights activist and expelled Allameh University student, was tried in court without the presence of her attorney. In proceedings similar to the trials of other arrested members of the “Right to Education Council,” Golroo was not allowed to defend herself aganst the charge of “relations and cooperation with Mujahedin Khalgh Organization (MKO).” In a phone call with her family after her trial, Mahdieh Golroo has called the charges ridiculous and has expressed concern because Golroo was not allowed to defend herself against and refute the charge. Other charges made against this student activist were propagation against the regime through interviews with foreign media and congregation and mutiny in relation to Right to Education Council meetings.

Expressing concern about the unfair process of Golroo’s case, the student activist’s husband, Vahid Lalipour, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran: “In the trial session of 15 Farvardin 2010, with Judge Pirabassi presiding, my wife was not allowed to defend herself against the charge of relations with MKO, and we are concerned that the same thing that happened to Majid Dorri and Zia Nabavi might happen to Mahdieh, too. During their trial sessions, they, too, were told that it was not necessary for them to defend against relations with the MKO, but when the verdict was announced, they were sentenced to five or ten years in prison for this same exact charge. There was no relation between this group and Mahdieh and my wife’s thinking has no common grounds with this organization. The case judges have made the cases only based on an assumption that the Right to Education Council is being led by MKO. This charge is to suppress those whose rights have been violated.”

Mahdieh Golroo’s trial was behind closed doors and without her attorney present. Her family and her husband were not allowed to attend the trial. Regarding the trial process and Golroo’s attorney’s absence, Lalipour said: “One night before the trial date, Mahdieh called to say that one of her friends who had gone to the office of Women’s Head Warden at Evin prison, had seen her name in the list of those whose trials were to be held the next day. My wife’s case was reviewed with an attorney, in a closed court, and without prior notice to her family. Her attorney, Mr. Oliaeefar, was arrested just before Nowrooz holidays, so he had not been able to make any progress on Mahdieh’s case. So we asked Mr. Raeesian to take on my wife’s legal representation. As soon as we learned which branch was reviewing her case, Mr. Raeesian and I went to Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Courts. Unfortunately, after an inappropriate confrontation, the court did not accept Mr. Raeesian as the representing lawyer. Under these circumstances, Mahdieh was taken to court on April 4th without prior notice. Believing that all her activities are within the framework of the country’s laws, she did not request for an extension and she was deprived from legal representation in court.”

Mahdieh Golroo is also deprived from meeting with her family in person. Lalipoor said that since his own release on February 21, 2010, he has been allowed to meet with his wife only once for Iranian New Year and with a letter from the Prosecutor. He said: “Each time they come up with a different excuse to keep us from visiting her. Authorities at Ward 209 are in possession of Mahdieh’s and my birth certificates and they refuse to return them to us. Evin Prison authorities have told me that I cannot visit her because I cannot present my birth certificate. Even though I take several pieces of identification to each visit, including our marriage certificate, and I am always with Mahdieh’s mother and sister, they tell me I can’t see her because I don’t have a birth certificate [to establish familial connection to the prisoner].”

The latest news on the student activist’s health condition is that she is suffering from an intestinal infection. Her husband referred to the prison’s bad diet and hygiene and blamed lack of medical attention on Golroo’s illness: “The prison infirmary considers such health conditions as “pretending to be ill,” and does not do a proper checkup. The prison food is not suitable, or better said, it’s not edible.”

News Background:

Mahdieh Golroo, a student activist and a member of Right to Education Council was arrested along with her husband Vahid Lalipour on December 3rd, 2009 after their home was stormed by several security forces. The couple were taken to Evin Prison. Vahid Lalipour who did not have any records of political activities, spent 65 days in Ward 209 of Evin Prison, 32 days of which were spent in solitary confinement. Lalipour’s charges were similar to his wife’s–propagation against the regime, congregation and mutiny and relations with Mujahedin Khalgh Organization. Mahdieh Golroo was formerly sentenced to one year’s imprisonment which was suspended for five years. Currently several members of the Right to Education Council are in prison–Zia Nabavi, Majid Dorri, Shiva Nazar Ahari, Peyman Aref, and Mahdieh Golroo. Zia Nabavi and Majid Dorri were tried and sentenced to 15 and 11 years in prison in the same court branch.