Iran-HRM – Political prisoner Maryam Akbari Monfared has been deprived of her family visits for three weeks.
Maryam Akbari Monfared is detained in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison. According to prison rules, if a prisoner commits a violation, she must first be heard in the disciplinary committee and then receive a verdict. But Ms. Akbari has been punished without going through this process.
According to an informed source, Maryam Akbari Monfared has not committed any offense. The only thing she did was to object to the bad conditions where a newly arrived prisoner was being held.
Abdol-Hamidi, warden of the Women’s Ward, informed Ms. Akbari of this punishment and enforced it beginning on Sunday, February 16, 2019.
According to the source, Maryam Akbari Monfared did not object the verdict. In a meeting with Ziaii, the warden of Evin, she was told to request revision in writing, but she said she had not done anything illegal to ask for revision.
Earlier in October 2019, following additional restrictions imposed on prisoners by the new warden of Evin, Gholamreza Ziaii, Maryam Akbari had been deprived of her family visitations.
Interruption of a prisoner’s contact with her children is a violation not only of their own rights, but of their children’s rights. Imprisonment of one or both parents does not deprive them of their right of parenting, or their children of having parents.
Ms. Akbari has three children and has been deprived of conditional release, even for one day, during her ten years in prison. She is sentenced to 15 years in jail.
Maryam Akbari Monfared was arrested in December 2009 for engaging in political opposition.
In May 2010, she was sentenced to 15 years in prison after Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran convicted her of “enmity against God” (moharebeh). The court issued its verdict despite the absence of any evidence that she had been involved in armed activities.
She was originally tried on charges of supporting the The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran(PMOI / MEK) and convicted in May 2010 of the offence of “waging war against God” (moharebeh) which belongs to the category of hodud offences with fixed and serious punishments under Islamic Shari’a.
Her conviction was based solely on the fact that she had made phone calls to her relatives, who are members of MEK, and had visited them once in Iraq. She has always denied being a member or follower of MEK and there was no evidence to prove otherwise.
She was sentenced by the notorious Judge Abolghasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran to 15 years in prison. In August 2010, her sentence was upheld by Iran’s Supreme Court. She has been jailed ever since her initial arrest on December 29, 2009.
In early 2016, Maryam Akbari Monfared submitted a request for retrial to the Supreme Court based on Article
279 of Iran’s 2013 Islamic Penal Code, which restricts the scope of the crime of “waging war against God” to situations when an individual personally resorts to the use of arms.
Prior to the adoption of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code, any member or supporter of an organization that sought to overthrow the Islamic Republic by procuring arms was considered an “waging war against God” (mohareb) even if they did not individually take part in the military activities of the organization.
The Supreme Court rejected the retrial request in April 2016 and ruled that any request for a lighter penalty based on the recent changes in the 2013 Islamic Penal Code must be made to the court that initially issued the death sentence.
The Supreme Court referenced a Note to Article 10 of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code, which allows courts of first instance to reduce or commute a sentence which they have already issued when a new law comes into effect that provides for a lighter penalty.
Maryam Akbari Monfared’s case was subsequently returned to Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran and the court maintained its original verdict.
Maryam Akbari Monfared’s sister Roghayeh and brother Abdolreza were among several thousand political prisoners who were executed during 1988 massacre. They were then dumped into mass unmarked graves.
In an open letter leaked from Evin prison in October 2016, Maryam Akbari Monfared wrote: “Three of my brothers and one of my sisters were executed in the 1980s… My youngest brother Abdolreza was 17 years old when he was arrested for distributing PMOI literature and sentenced to three years in prison. The authorities refused to release him for years after he completed his sentence and executed him in 1988… My other brother Alireza was arrested on 8 September 1981. He was tried and executed 10 days later… On the seventh night of mourning for my brother Alireza, security forces raided our house and arrested a number of guests as well as my mother and sister, Roghieh. My mother was released after five months but my sister was sentenced to eight years in prison. She was executed in August 1988 while she was just a year away from the end of her sentence.” Following the submission of her complaint, the Associate Prosecutor of Evin Prison told Maryam Akbari Monfared’s family: “Such complaints are of no use. They would only make her conditions in prison more difficult and impede her release.”