No Time for Goodbyes: Political Prisoner Forced to Begin Harsh Prison Sentence Without Summons
Former student activist Arash Sadeghi unexpectedly began serving his 19-year prison sentence in Evin Prison on June 7, 2016 when he visited the jail to inquire about the official start date of his sentence.
Sadeghi had not received a summons and wanted to prevent prison guards from showing up without notice to haul him to jail—a common occurrence.
“Arash did not want agents to storm our house to arrest him,” his wife, Golrokh Iraee, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran on June 8. “He just wanted to know how much time we had to prepare for prison.”
“A few days ago our co-defendants Navid Kamran and Behnam Mousivand had received summons to report to prison within five days, so Arash went there to check the status of my case and his own,” added Iraee. “When he got there, they detained him and took him inside. I didn’t know what had happened to him until he called me and said that he had started his prison term.”
Sadeghi, 36, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2015 for “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” “spreading lies in cyberspace,” and “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic.” His wife Golrohk Iraee, 35, was also given a six-month prison sentence for “insulting the sacred” and “propaganda against the state.” The cases were presided by Judge Mohammad Moghisseh of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court.
The Appeals Court upheld Sadeghi and Iraee’s sentences on December 22, 2015.
Sadeghi will also be serving a four-year suspended prison sentence issued in 2010 for “assembly and collusion against national security” and “propaganda against the state.”
Sadeghi was previously arrested in July 2009, March 2010 and January 2012 for allegedly participating in protests against the widely disputed results of Iran’s 2009 presidential election, but he was conditionally released each time.
His mother, Farahnaz Dargahi, died in November 2009—four days after she suffered a heart attack after security agents raided her home.
Sadeghi’s most recent arrest took place on September 6, 2014 at his stationery store in Tehran when agents from the Sarallah Headquarters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) detained him along with his wife and two friends, Navid Kamran and Behnam Mousivand.
He was held for seven months in the Guards’ Intelligence Organization-controlled Ward 2-A of Evin Prison until his release on seven billion rials ($231,000 USD) bail on March 14, 2015. His wife was released on one billion rials ($33,000 USD) bail on September 27, 2015.
Sadeghi’s combined 19-year prison sentence fails to take into consideration Article 134 of Iran’s New Islamic Penal Code, which limits a prison term to the longest sentence of the most serious charge in cases involving multiple charges.