Authorities Refuse Furlough For Student Activist After Eight Months In Prison
Amin Ahmadian, husband of student activist and prisoner of conscience Bahareh Hedayat told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that he has not been allowed to have in-person visits with his wife for the past eight months and despite repeated appeals to judicial authorities, he has not yet received any replies to his requests. He also said that Bahareh Hedayat has developed gallstones in prison and she will likely need surgery.
Ahmadian said Bahareh Hedayat, alongside several other female political prisoners, is currently serving time inside the Methadone Ward of Evin Prison. As compared to the general ward, this ward is a lot more limited in facilities. “They only open the door for fresh air breaks for between 45 minutes and one hour each day. Right now they are in an enclosed 30 to 35 sq. meter room, and they have no contact with anyone else. Bahareh herself said that the location where they are kept is like Ward 209 of Evin Prison’s group cells. Since she has been moved to the Methadone Ward, their phones have been cut off.
Prisoners in the Methadone Ward, Ahmadian told the Campaign “do not have access to a library or things like that. However, Bahareh said that hygiene conditions are better in this ward than the general ward. As for other matters such as exercising, the general ward is open and they can exercise [freely], or go to fresh hour breaks; but in this ward these are not possible.”
From the Campaign Archive: “Bahareh Hedayat’s Defense Went Unnoticed–She received the Maximum Sentence,” Says Lawyer
“Right now there are more than 15 prisoners in the Methadone Ward who have requested to be transferred to the General Ward, but their requests have not been approved so far, though requests by two prisoners, Zahra Bahrami and Hengameh Shahidi, were approved and they were moved to the general ward,” Amin Ahmadian told the Campaign.
Bahareh Hedayat’s husband told the Campaign about the student activist’s state of health. “She had recurring stomachache for several months. Finally, the physician at the infirmary ordered a sonogram for her. She was diagnosed with gallstones. They have been waiting for a surgeon to come and give his opinion, but he has not come yet,” said Ahmadian, stressing that Bahareh Hedayat was not sick prior to going to prison and this condition has emerged as a result of the prison conditions.
“Some of the books I take to her are returned. In fact they get censored. Even books which were published under the current cabinet and with the license of this government’s Ministry of Culture are rejected,” said Amin Ahmadi about the possibility of sending books to prison.
Bahareh Hedayat’s very heavy sentence of 9.5 years in prison was upheld by an appeals court; therefore she has no further legal recourse for changing her sentence. Though authorities at the Prosecutor’s Office have verbally promised cooperation, they have refused to grant her and several other female prisoners furlough. According to Mr. Ahmadian, he can meet with his wife for 20 minutes once a week through a booth. He has not had an in-person visit with her for the past eight months. Ahmadian says the Prosecutor has not agreed with his request for in-person visitation. His last in-person meeting with Bahareh Hedayat was in May.
“I had a meeting with the Prosecutor a few months ago. The Prosecutor himself had a meeting with Bahareh in prison. They talked and their talks were positive, too, but in practical terms there has been no development. Even so, Bahahre’s morale is up, thank God,” Ahmadian concluded.
Bahareh Hedayat was arrested on 31 December 2009 and she has remained at Evin Prison ever since. An appeals court upheld a lower court’s sentence of nine years in prison. Her sentence is comprised of two years in prison for “insulting the Supreme Leader,” six months for “insulting the President,” five years in prison for “actions against national security, propagating falsehoods, and collusion.” A previous suspended prison term of two years which she had received as a result of holding a gathering of women to protest anti-women laws, has increased the student activist’s total sentence to 9.5 years.