Wednesday , 18 May 2022

Khamenei’s Niece Kept Incommunicado In Tehran Prison, Brother Says

RFL/RE – A civil activist and niece of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is being held in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin prison following her detention last week after she took part in a celebration praising the widow of the ousted shah, her brother has told RFE/RL.

Farideh Moradkhani was arrested on January 14 after a video posted online showed her reciting a poem in praise of the former empress.

Farideh Moradkhani, a daughter of Khamenei’s sister known for her activism against the death penalty, was detained on January 14 at her home in the Iranian capital.

Her brother, Mahmud, who lives in France, said in a telephone interview late on January 17 that the charges against her remained unclear.

The authorities “didn’t say why they arrested her when they took her away,” he said.

“But from what we have heard, she has a thick file and I believe that it is to a great extent related to the comments she made in an online event” marking the 83 birthday of Farah Pahlavi, the widow of the last shah, he added.

Moradkhani’s arrest came after a video posted online showed her reciting a poem in praise of the former empress. The activist addressed Farah as “dear mother of my homeland,” and said that after she left Iran “the nation’s art and culture were left without refuge and blackness enveloped this house.”

43 years ago the Shah of #Iran, with Empress Farah at his side, voluntarily left his country to avoid bloodshed.Today, the Islamic Republic detained Farideh Moradkhani @khamenei_ir‘s own niece for reading this poem to @ShahbanouFarah calling for her return.(English subtitles)— NUFDI (@NUFDIran) January 16, 2022

Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his spouse ruled Iran until the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Farah is now based in France.

According to Mahmud Moradkhani, his sister’s involvement in human rights activism has contributed to her arrest.

“Human rights activities and helping the families of political prisoners and victims of protest movements is considered a crime for this regime,” he said.

Moradkhani is the daughter of Khamenei’s sister Badri, who fled to Iraq in the 1980s at the peak of the war with Iran to join her husband, dissident cleric Ali Tehrani.

With reporting by AFP