Mother Puts All Hope in Appeals Court to Free Son
“How can a young man who worked hard for Rouhani’s presidential campaign, ‘wage propaganda’ and ‘act against the state’?”
That is the question Mina Dena has been repeating to Judge Moghisseh at his office every week since October 10, 2015, when he sentenced her son, Majid Azarpey, to six and a half years in prison for “propaganda against the state” and “colluding against national security.”
“I went to Judge Moghisseh’s office last Tuesday. I asked him to let my son go free on bail until the final verdict is issued against him. But he refused. He said Majid is a criminal and must stay in prison. He said once before that they are afraid Majid is going to escape. But where would he go?”
Majid Azarpey was a campaign worker for candidates in the past two presidential elections—for the reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi in 2009, who has been held without charge under house arrest since February 2011 along with his wife Zahra Rahnavard and his fellow presidential candidate in that election, Mehdi Karroubi, and for President Hassan Rouhani during his election campaign in 2013.
Azarpey’s mother also told the Campaign that after a three-week wet hunger strike last month, he has been very weak and in poor health. The hunger strike was jointly undertaken with Ali Shariati, another prisoner of conscience, from November 3 until November 25, according to sources. The prisoners hoped to raise attention to their unjust sentencing.
On the first day of their hunger strike, Azarpey and Shariati issued a joint letter addressed to President Rouhani calling on him to use his constitutional powers to stop injustices by extremist factions.
Hardliners in Iran have been instituting an unrelenting crackdown on reformists, activists, journalists, and cultural figures, which has intensified as the country approaches critical Parliamentary elections in February 2016.
“I am not sure if my son has the physical strength to spend all these years in prison,” Mina Dena said. “His lawyer has objected to the sentence and now we are waiting for the Appeals Court’s decision. All our hope is that his sentence will be quashed there.”
Azarpey was arrested on June 16, 2015, by agents of the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Organization, according to an informed source, and has been held at Evin Prison ever since.