Female Prisoner of Conscience Transferred to Deplorable Gharchak Prison
Female prisoner of conscience Hakimeh Shokri was abruptly transferred from Evin Prison to the Gharchak Prison in Varamin on December 15, 2014, Shokri’s sister told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Gharchak prison is known for its abysmal conditions, especially regarding those for its female prisoners.
“I don’t know why they treated her this way. Why did they transfer her to Gharchak Prison in Varamin in such haste where she wasn’t even able to take her clothes, personal items, and money? She didn’t even have enough money to call us and let us know about her transfer,” said Zahra Shokri, Hakimeh Shokri’s sister.
“The officials did not tell us the reasons for the transfer. They didn’t tell Hakimeh, either. Her sentence does not include imprisonment in exile. We learned about her transfer two days after it took place, through published news…When we went to Evin Prison Courts, they told us that Hakimeh is still inside Evin Prison. We were so happy to think that the news was false,” continued Zahra Shokri. “But when we went to Evin, the agents told us that the news we had heard was accurate, and that she had been transferred to Gharchak. We went to Gharchak after that, and were able to visit with Hakimeh for a few minutes,” she added.
Regarding her sister’s conditions, Zahra Shokri told the Campaign “It appears the heating equipment at Gharchak does not work. It was very cold inside the prison, and Hakimeh did not have any other clothes other than what she was wearing. We wanted to deposit some money into her [prison] account that same day, but it was too late in the day and office hours were over. She still has no money with which to buy anything for herself. Worse yet, she is in the same cell as dangerous criminals.”
Imprisoning political prisoners alongside violent criminals is a common practice in Iranian prisons, as is ill treatment, which typically includes cramped and unhygienic conditions and lack of critically needed medical care.
Hakimeh Shokri, 44, was arrested on December 5, 2010, along with a group of other individuals after she participated in the memorial service for Amir Arshad Tajmir, a young victim of the violent crackdown against the peaceful protests that followed the disputed presidential election in Iran in 2009. Shokri was released on bail after being detained for about 2.5 months inside the Intelligence Ministry’s Ward 209 at Evin Prison.
On April 11, 2012, Shokri was put on trial at a Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Moghisseh, on charges of “propaganda against the state,” and “acting against national security,” and was sentenced to three years in prison. She was summoned to begin serving her prison term in November 2012.
Hakimeh Shokri was a member of the “Laleh Mothers Group,” formerly known as “Mourning Mothers.” This group was initially formed by women who had lost their children in the mass prison executions of the 1980’s, and later, mothers who had lost their children in the aftermath of the 2009 election protests, and women who protested the post-election events. Members of this group were present at the funeral ceremonies of victims of the post-election crackdown.
The women in this group gathered weekly at Laleh Park to protest the arrests, prison sentences, and murders of ordinary citizens during the post-election crackdown, and hence the group’s name changed to the “Laleh Park Mothers.” Arrests and threats against several members of the group by security and intelligence agencies, however, prevented them from continuing their meetings.