Rights Activist Files Complaint Against Revolutionary Guard Agents for Excessive Force
Agents Attacked Atena Daemi and Her Sister and Used Pepper Spray When Taking Her into Custody
The young human rights activist Atena Daemi has filed a formal complaint against agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) for using excessive force when transferring her to Evin Prison to begin her sentence, she said in a letter written to a source who wished to remain anonymous due to security concerns.
“Today, November 26, 2016, our home was raided even though I was not raping my students, committing extortion, ordering an assassination or running from the law. I was only sleeping! My parents were on vacation,” Daemi wrote in the letter, a copy of which has been obtained by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
She said plain-clothed agents of the IRGC’s Sarallah Headquarters used undue force and pepper spray when they came to take her into custody.
“They acted as if they had come to arrest a dangerous fugitive. When asked to produce a warrant, they attacked me. One of the agents, who I’m embarrassed to say was a woman, started to beat me. Then when my younger sister tried to intervene, she beat her on the chest, too.”
“Then the other agents, who are a disgrace to all men, used pepper gas on me, a defenseless woman. I contacted 110 to report an emergency but we live in Iran, where law enforcement does not side with the law. They detained me, without letting me say goodbye to my vacationing parents, put blindfolds and handcuffs on me and sent me off to Evin Prison.”
She added: “I submitted a complaint to the judge in Evin Prison against three assaulting agents and I told him they had no right to beat me up. The judge promised to investigate. Let’s see if he keeps his word.”
Based on Article 58 of the Criminal Procedure Regulations, “When entering a residence or closed place of business, judicial agents must not only show identification but also a warrant to enter the premises. The proceedings should be written down and signed by those present.”
Daemi, 29, is serving a seven-year prison sentence for peaceful civil activities, including opposition to the death penalty. After being arrested on October 21, 2014 by the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization, she was accused of meeting families of political prisoners, criticizing the Islamic Republic on Facebook and condemning the 1988 mass execution of political prisoners. Sixteen months later, in February 2016, she was released on 500-million-tomans bail, approximately $166,000 USD.
On September 29, 2016 Iran’s Appeal Court upheld guilty verdicts against Daemi and three other activists for “assembly and collusion against national security” and “insulting the supreme leader.” Daemi and Omid Alishenas were sentenced to seven years in prison while Aso Rostami and Ali Nouri were each sentenced to two years in prison.
In an interview with the Campaign in February 2016, Daemi’s mother Masoumeh Nemati said her daughter organized art classes for street children and participated in gatherings supporting children suffering from the fighting in Syria’s Kurdish regions. She also posted comments critical of social issues in Iran on her Facebook page, which was subsequently shut down.
“During her detention Atena suffered from severe headaches and weakening eyesight, as well as showing symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and doctors had said the stressful conditions in prison were dangerous for her health,” Nemati said.