Ailing Student Activist’s Continued Detention Violates Iran’s Own Laws
Prominent student activist Bahareh Hedayat should have been released by the end of July 2015 with the completion of more than five years in prison but efforts to end her unlawful incarceration have so far been unsuccessful, according to her husband Amin Ahmadian.
“Whatever happens to her, the responsibility will be with those who are acting against the law by keeping her imprisoned for no reason,” Ahmadian told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Hedayat, 34, winner of the 2012 Harald Edelstam Defence of Human Rights Award, was given three sentences in January 2010: Five years for “acting against national security and publishing falsehoods,” two years for “insulting the Supreme Leader” and six months for “insulting the President.”
Ahmadian told the Campaign that Hedayat should have been freed by now because according to Article 134 of the New Islamic Penal Code, she should not be serving more than 5.5 years. Under that Article, in the case of conviction on multiple charges, the prison term should not exceed the sentence for the charge that carries the heaviest punishment.
“Mr. Nasirpour, the head of Evin Prison’s Sentence Enforcement Unit, told us that as far as the law is concerned, she has completed her sentence and Bahareh should go free. He even said that if he were in our place, he would take legal action. And I and Bahareh’s lawyer have been pursuing this for months but so far no one is giving us answers,” Ahmadian added.
“We waited a long time. We kept quiet. We didn’t make a fuss. There were more important things going on, like the [nuclear] negotiations, and we didn’t want to overshadow a national issue. But now that the issue has been resolved, there is no reason why they shouldn’t implement their own laws regarding prisoners,” Hedayat’s husband noted.
Ahmadian said it appears that those sentenced before 2013, especially those involved in the peaceful protests against the widely disputed results of the 2009 presidential election in Iran, are being singled out for harsh treatment. As such the authorities are refusing to release them at the end of their maximum sentence, which is a direct violation of Article 134 of Iran’s New Islamic Penal Code.
Bahareh Hedayat was a member of the Central Council and Spokesperson for the Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat student union, and an activist with the One Million Signatures Campaign for the Change of Discriminatory Laws Against Women. She was arrested by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence for the fifth time in four years at midnight on December 31, 2009, as a result of her peaceful activism.