Man Serving Seven Years in an Iranian Prison For His Facebook Posts Slapped With An Additional Three
Prisoner of conscience Soheil Arabi has been sentenced to three more years behind bars—increasing his total term to 10 years—for engaging in peaceful activism inside the Great Tehran Penitentiary (GTP) where he is being held.
Prison guards also physically assaulted Arabi, who is in the prison for the content of his Facebook posts, his mother told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“Last night [September 30, 2018], I received a message from my son’s lawyer saying that he has been condemned to three more years in prison and after that he will be exiled to Borazjan [Bushehr Province] and he has to pay a four million tomans ($950 USD) fine,” Arabi’s mother, Farangis Mazloom, told CHRI.
“Now I have to wait until next Monday [October 8] to get some information from my son during visitation,” she added.
Mazloom also told CHRI that she fears prison guards have seriously hurt her son because she has not been able to visit him since she was informed that he had been beaten in the GTP.
“One of his cellmates called me on the phone and said Soheil has been beaten again and that I should come and see him on Monday,” she said. “But when I went there, I wasn’t allowed to see him.”
She added: “I’m so worried, it’s driving me crazy. They’ve probably done something to my child again and they don’t want me to see him. Three or four weeks ago they had beat him and given him a black eye for supporting the Gonabadi Dervishes.”
Arabi had been serving a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence since 2013 for criticizing the Islamic Republic on Facebook.
His additional sentence of three years was issued for the charges of “propaganda against the state” and “insulting the sacred and the supreme leader.”
“Soheil had written a statement in which he compared the Great Tehran Penitentiary (GTP) to hell and because of that the authorities accused him of leading protests inside prison,” his mother told CHRI.
“Then Soheil sent other statements out of prison, including one with his own voice, and for this reason, he was sentenced to three more years in prison,” she added.
Multiple former detainees have pointed out the inhumane living conditions in the GTP, the largest detention facility in the country. A journalist recently described it as “beyond the limits of human tolerance.”
Located in Tehran Province’s Fashafouyeh district, 20 miles southeast of Tehran, and built in 2015 primarily for holding inmates convicted of drug-related offenses, Iran’s judiciary has also used the GTP to incarcerate dissidents and anti-state protesters convicted of politically motivated charges.
Arabi was transferred to the GTP from Evin Prison in Tehran—which has a separate wing for political prisoners to keep them safe from violent offenders—on January 29, 2018.