Shiva Nazar Ahari

Shiva Nazar Ahari, a human rights activist and member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR), has spent more than 120 days in prison. She was arrested for the second time in one year on 20 December  2009. Previously, she spent 102 days in prison, 33 in solitary confinement, and was released on $200,000 bail on 23 September 2009.

Shahrzad Kariman, Nazar Ahari’s mother, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that she and her daughter’s lawyers’ endless search for locating case files in different branches of the Revolutionary Courts have been fruitless. The Evin Court judge has received Nazar Ahari’s most recent defense, charging her with “propagation against the regime through cooperation with CHRR’s website,” and “actions against national security through participation in gatherings on 4 November  2009 and 7 December 2009.” Nazar Ahari has denied participation in the mentioned gatherings and stated she was working during both events.

Nazar Ahari was arrested last year on 20 December 2009 along with Kouhyar Goudarzi and Saeed Haeri, two other members of the independent organization . On that day, a bus taking several political and civil activists to Ayatollah Montazeri’s funeral in Qom was stopped by security forces in Tehran’s Enghelab Square. Three members of CHRR were arrested and transferred to Evin Prison.

Regarding the latest attempt to locate her daughter’s case file, Shahrzad Kariman told the Campaign: “I went to the court twice. They didn’t give me any information about her first file and whether the file is under review in Branch 26 or not. One of Shiva’s lawyers, Ms. Moezzi, was told that her file is in Branch 26, but no registration number is available yet in the Branch’s computer. Regarding her second file, the Prosecutor ordered that both files be merged andreviewed in one place, but we don’t have any further news and no dates have been set for the trial. The 3rd Branch of Evin Court has informed Shiva of two charges. One is ‘creating public anxiety through writing on CHRR’s website and other sites,’ a charge which other members share. Her second charge is ‘actions against national security through participation in gatherings on 4 November 2009 and 7 December 2009 gatherings.’ Shiva has denied these charges because she wasn’t present at those gatherings and the Evin Court Judge has concluded the case as such. Today, [24 April 2010], I was at the court between 9 a.m. and 12 noon. When I went to Branch 26, they told me that I had to file a new inquiry to confirm that the file is there. When I went to file an inquiry, they told me that the first file is in Branch 2 and there is no new information about it. The new file,  dated 20 December  2009, was sent to Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Courts, but I was told at that branch that Shiva had objected to her arrest orders and after reviewing her objection, her case file was forwarded, but they wouldn’t tell me where.”

In the most recent meeting with her mother last Thursday, Nazar Ahari said that the judge in Branch 3 of Evin Prison Court informed her after receiving her most recent defense, that her case file was forwarded to a trial court. Additionally, due to her imprisonment, she was told efforts would be made to expedite her trial date. Kariman described Nazar Ahari’s mental state as “good,” and about her conditions in prison said: “Shiva remains in Ward 209 and even though she requested to be moved to the [General] Ward,remains in a two-person cell with Ms. [Hengameh] Shahidi. Her psychological state was good, but she has been in prison for five months. Her temporary detention orders, valid for two months, have expired and not been extended.”

Regarding the pursuit of Nazar Ahari’s case files, Kariman said: “Her lawyers keep going to court, but when they go to Branch 26 they receive no answers about her 14 June  2009 case which contains an indictment  and has already been allocated to a branch. The branch office manager has been kind enough to acknowledge that the file is in that branch, but said the case doesn’t have a registration number and it cannot be located in the computer.”

Kariman also referred to the inappropriate treatment she has received during visits with her daughter and the limitations created for her in-person visits. Describing the visits she said: “The treatment is not very good. Shiva was very unhappy with the treatment at visitation time and said that they insult and yell at her. There are no particular problems with visits through booths, but in-person visits have become problematic and no family members other than parents are allowed to visit. Continuing this situation will be very difficult, as Shiva’s sisters have been unable to see her. If visits are limited like this, it will not just be difficult for us, it will be difficult for all prisoners. First, they were going to let [other family members] have in-person visits along with parents, but apparently the Prosecutor has ordered that only the father, mother, or spouse can have in-person visits, limiting the right of family members.”

Kariman said she remains hopeful that Shiva will be released soon on the bail they had previously posted. “We posted a $200,000 bail in her previous case, and we haven’t requested a bail refund yet. I thought if they combined the two files to issue new bail orders, the existing bail would serve for her release. I don’t know if they would release her on the same bail or a lower bail. I am optimistic that they will not ask for a higher bail.”

Currently Navid Khanjani and Kouhyar Goudarzi, two other members of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters remain in prison. Kouhyar Goudarzi is in Ward 350 and Navid Khanjani is in IRGC’s Ward 2-A at Evin Prison. Another CHRR member, Ali Kalaee, was informed in writing yesterday to appear at Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Courts in order to continue investigations.