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Femena: Right, Peace, Inclusion
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Imprisoned for Defending Rights: Iranian WHRDs Currently Serving Prison Sentences

 

Introduction: 

Women human rights defenders in Iran have played a pivotal role in continuing the struggle for freedom and equality following the Woman, Life, Freedom movement. While protests may have quieted on the streets, their spirit persists in the daily resilience and resistance of Iranian women, both inside and outside prison walls. Despite facing suppression from security forces, imprisonment, and ongoing threats and interrogations, these women human rights defenders preserve in their fight against oppression and discrimination. 

In this report, Femena sheds light on the plight of women human rights defenders currently imprisoned in Iran. This includes women and girls dedicated to advancing women’s rights, gender equality, and justice as well as those championing broader human rights issues aligned with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UN’s definition of human rights defenders encompasses not only those who explicitly identify as such but also members of civil society and individuals working in non-traditional human rights fields such as journalists, healthcare providers, environmental defenders and peace activists. .

Despite the international recognition of the vital role played by human rights defenders, as articulated in the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted in 1998, these defenders face significant threats and risks. Governments are not only obligated to refrain from obstructing the work of rights defenders but also encouraged to facilitate it.

In this report, published following the publication of the findings of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Iran, we aim to spotlight the names, accusations and penalties faced by women human rights defenders. While some of their stories are detailed in the report  “Imprisoned in Evin for Defending Rights” published by Femena on November 29, 2023, others will be further elaborated upon in future Femena publications. It’s important to note that the number of women political prisoners in Iran exceeds the names listed in this report. This report focuses solely on those who can be identified as WHRDs currently serving prison terms. Further, a few of those listed here, are currently on furlough or temporary release. Only those whose furloughs or temporary releases commenced less than 6 months ago have been listed among imprisoned WHRDs, as it is quite likely that they will be returned to prison to serve their sentence.  Those WHRDs who began their furloughs over 6 months ago, have not been listed here, as it is our hope that the furloughs will lead to permanent release for them.


 

1. Anisha Asadollahi – Labor Activist 

Sentence: Five years of imprisonment 

Charges: Assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime.

Case date*: May 12, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

2. Armita Paveer – Student Activist 

Sentence: Twenty-two months and seventeen days of imprisonment 

Charges: Insulting the supreme leader of Iran, and propaganda against the regime.

Case date: June 28, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Tabriz Prison

3. Bahahreh Hedayat – Political Activist

Sentence: Four years of imprisonment 

Charges: Gathering and collusion with the intention of acting against the security of the country by organizing a protest following the downing of the Ukrainian plane by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)

Case date: February 10, 2020

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

4. Elaheh Mohammadi – Journalist 

Sentence: Twelve years of imprisonment with the most severe punishment being six years, along with being prohibited from participating in political groups and having restrictions on her social media and media-related activities.

Charges: Collaboration with an adversarial country, the USA , assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime.

Case date: September 29, 2022

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison (temporarily released on bail)

5. Elham Choubdar – LGBTQ Activist

Sentence: Three years of imprisonment

Charges: Propagating homosexuality,  Christianity, and collaborating with opposition parties.

Case date: January 16, 2022

Place of imprisonment: Urmiya Prison

6. Faezeh Hashemi – Political Activist

Sentence: Five years in prison

Charges: Propaganda against the state and insulting sanctities

Case date: September 27, 2022

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

7. Fariba Kamalabadi – Bahai Leader 

Sentence: Ten years in prison

Charges: Forming and leading groups to act against national security

Case date: July 31, 2022

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

9. Fatemeh Sepehri – Political Activist 

Sentence: Eighteen  years of imprisonment, with the most severe punishment being ten years 

Charges: Collaboration with hostile foreign government, assembly and collusion against national security, insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran, and propaganda against the regime.

Case date: September 21, 2022     

Place of imprisonment: Vakilabad Prison, Mashhad

10. Fatemeh Tadrisi – Teacher

Sentence: Six years in prison in initial court

Charges: Inciting people to violence, engaging in propaganda against the regime, insulting the Supreme Leader,and forming groups to act against national security

Case date: August 27, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Kachouei Prison- Karaj

11. Golrokh Iraee – Civil Activist 

Sentence: Five years of imprisonment, prohibited from joining political and civil groups, Restricted from staying in Tehran, barred from leaving the country for two years, and had her cell phone confiscated.

Charges: Assembly and collusion against national security, propaganda against the regime, and disturbing public order. 

Case date: September 26, 2022

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

12. Hajar Saeidi – Labor Activist 

Sentence: One year of imprisonment 

Charges: Assembly and collusion against national security

Case date: May 18, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Sanandaj Correction and Rehabilitation Center 

13. Jila Hojabri – Political Activist

Sentence: Three years and eight months

Charges: Disobeying a state official, membership in opposition groups, and propaganda against the state.

Case date: August 2022

Place of imprisonment: Sanandaj Correction and Rehabilitation Center 

13. Mahnaz Tarah – Civil Activist

Sentence: Four years and Four months imprisonment

Charges: Assembly and collusion to commit a crime, and propaganda against the regime.

Case date: November 13, 2023 

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

14. Mahvash Shahriari – Bahai Leader

Sentence: Ten Years of imprisonment

Charges: Forming and leading groups to act against national security.

Case date: July 31, 2022

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

15. Maryam Akbari Monfared – Civil Activist/Seeker of Justice* 

Sentence: Fifteen years of imprisonment / Also sentenced to three years in a new case

Charges: “Moharebeh” by having connection with Mojahedin-e-Khalgh group, and propaganda against the state.

Case date: December 31, 2009

Place of imprisonment: Semnan Prison  

16. Maryam Darysi – Civil Activist

Sentence: One year and three months 

Charges: Insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran, Propaganda against the regime. 

Case date: October 15, 2022

Place of imprisonment: Home (Released under electronic monitoring)

17. Maryam Jalal Hosseini – Teacher

Sentence: Seven years in prison in initial court

Charges: Inciting people to violence, engaging in propaganda against the regime, insulting the Supreme Leader, and forming groups to act against national security.

Case date: August 27, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Kachouei Prison- Karaj

18. Maryam Sadat Yahyavi – Political Activist

Sentence: One year of imprisonment

Charges: Propaganda against the regime.

Case date: November 2014 

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

19. Masoumeh Akbari – Civil Activist

Sentence: Two years of imprisonment 

Charges: Gathering and collusion with the intention of acting against the security of the country and propaganda activity against the regime.

Case date: 2018

Place of imprisonment:  Evin Prison

20. Mojgan Bagheri – Teachers’ Union Activist in Fars Province

Sentence: Two years of imprisonment (Released under electronic monitoring)

Charges: Assembly and collusion with the intention of acting against the security of the country.

Case date: May 22, 2022

Place of imprisonment: Home (Released under electronic monitoring)

21. Mojgan Kavousi – Civil Activist

Sentence: Thirty nine  months in prison

Charges: Assembly and collusion with the intention of acting against the security of the country.

Case date: September 22, 2022

Place of imprisonment: Tonekabon Prison

22. Nahaleh Shahidi Yazdi – Child Rights Activist 

Sentence: Still in detention

Charges: Propaganda against the state, and forming and leading groups to act against national security.

Case date: March 23, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Kerman Prison

23. Nahid Khodajoo – Labor Activist

Sentence: Five years of imprisonment and seventy four lashes

Charges: Assembly and collusion to act against national security, and disturbing public order and peace.

Case date: May 1, 2019 

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

24. Nahid Shirpisheh – Civil Activist/Seeker of Justice  

Sentence: Five years of imprisonment 

Charges: Assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime.

Case date: July 11, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Zanjan Prison

25. Nahid Taghavi – Labor Activist

Sentence: Ten years and eight  months of imprisonment

Charges: Participating in the management of an illegal group, and propaganda activities against the state.

Case date: October 17, 2020

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

26. Narges Mansouri – Civil Activist and Member of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran Bus Company 

Sentence: Five years of imprisonment and three  years in new case

Charges: Gathering and colluding against national security and propaganda against the regime.

Case date: 2019

News sentence date: Feb 2024

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

27. Narges Mohammadi – Human Rights Activist 

Sentence: Twelve years and eight months imprisonment  

Charges: Propaganda activities against the regime through issuing statements, disrupting prison order through sit-ins, defying prison leadership and authorities, damaging glasses, and Slander.

Case date: November 16, 2021

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

28. Nasim Soltanbeigi – Journalist and Human Rights Activist

Sentence: Three years and six months of imprisonment 

Charges: Assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime.

Case date: January 22, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison (currently on medical leave)

29. Nasrin Hasani – Journalist 

Sentence: Seven Months of imprisonment

Charges: Spreading false news

Case date: September 3, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Bojnourd Prison

30. Nasrin Javadi – Labor Activist 

Sentence: Five years of imprisonment ,74 lashes, banning the use of smartphones and banning membership in political and social parties and group

Charges: Gathering and colluding to act against the security of the country, propaganda against the regime, and disturbance in public order.

Case date: May 1, 2019

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

31. Niloufar Bayani – Environmental Activist

Sentence: Ten years of imprisonment

Charges: Collaborating with the hostile government of the United States.

Case date: February 2018

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison 

32. Niloofar Hamedi – Journalist 

Sentence: Thirteen years of imprisonment, with the most severe punishment being seven years, prohibited from participating in political groups, and having restrictions on her social media and media-related activities.

Charges: Collaboration with an adversarial country, the USA, assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime.

Case date: September 22, 2022

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison (temporarily released on bail)

33. Raha Pour-Ebrahim – Civil Activist 

Sentence: Three years of imprisonment

Charges: Propaganda against the regime, and virtual activities aimed at disrupting public order.

Case date: September 7, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Vakil Abad Prison- Mashhad 

34. Raoufeh Mirbagheri – Women’s Rights Activist

Sentence: Eight months in prison

Charges: Propaganda against the regime.

Case date: October 26, 2022

Place of imprisonment: Shahsavar Prison

35. Rahleh Rahemi Pour – Civil Activist/Seeker of Justice 

Sentence: Five years of imprisonment 

Charges: Assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime.

Case date: November 12, 2019

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

36. Reyhaneh Ansari Nejad – Labor Activist 

Sentence: Four years of imprisonment, and prohibited from leaving the country, joining political and civil groups, and engaging in online and media activities for two years

Charges: Assembly and collusion against national security and Acting against national security. 

Case date: May 12, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

37. Rezvaneh Ahmad Khan Beigi – Civil Activist 

Sentence: Five years of imprisonment, with the most severe punishment being four years. 

Charges: Assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime.

Case date: September 18, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

38. Saeedeh Shafiei – Journalist and Human Rights Activist 

Sentence: Three years and six months of imprisonment 

Charges: Assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime.

Case date: January 22, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison (currently on medical leave)

39. Samaneh Asghari- Children Rights Activist

Sentence: One year of imprisonment 

Case date: September 14, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

40. Sanaz Tafazoli – Civil Activist

Sentence: Ten years and nine months

Charges: Collusion against security, leading a group with the intent to disrupt national security, and engaging in propaganda against the regime.

Case date: November 22, 2022

Place of imprisonment: Vakil Abad Prison- Mashhad 

41. Sarvenaz Ahmadi – Child Rights Activist 

Sentence: Three years and six months imprisonment 

Charges: Assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime.

Case date: April 28, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

42. Sedighe Vasmaghi – Scholar and Activist

Sentence: In detention

Charges: Propaganda against the system in cyberspace and public appearances without Shari’a-compliant hijab.

Case date: 17/03/2024

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

43. Sepideh Kashani – Environmental Activist 

Sentence: Six years in Prison

Charges: Collaborating with the hostile government of the United States.

Case date: February 2018

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

44. Sepideh Qolian – Civil Activist 

Sentence: Three years and six months imprisonment 

Charges: Assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime.

Case date: April 28, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

45. Sharifeh Mohammadi – Women’s Rights Activist

Sentence: In detention

Charges: Not specified

Case date: November 25, 2023

Place of imprisonment: Lakan Prison, Rasht

46. Soha Mortezaei – Labor Union/Civil Activist 

Sentence: Six years of imprisonment , and two-year ban on membership in political parties, groups, and gatherings

Charges: Assembly and collusion with the intent to act against national security.

Case date: November 2019

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

47. Tina Deljoo – Civil Activist 

Sentence: One year of imprisonment

Charges: Propaganda against the regime.

Case date: January 29, 2024

Place of imprisonment: Lakan Prison- Rasht Province

48. Vida Rabbani – Journalist 

Sentence: Five years of imprisonment, and banned from practicing journalism and engaging in political activities.

Charges: Blasphemy, and assembly and collusion to act against national security.

Case date: November 23, 2020

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison 

49. Zahra Esfandiari – Teacher 

Sentence: Two years

Charges: Assembly and collusion with the intention of acting against the security of the country.

Case date: May 22, 2022

Place of imprisonment: Home (Released under electronic monitoring)

50. Zeinab Hamrang Seyed Baglou – Labor Union/Civil Activist 

Sentence: Five years of imprisonment 

Sentence: Five years of imprisonment 

Charges: Assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime.

Case date: March 11, 2024

Place of imprisonment: Evin Prison

 


*Case dates indicate the date the cases was initiated against the WHRD, including by the judiciary or security forces. 

*Family members of those killed by security forces during protests, in detention or in prison, those killed as a result of extra judicial executions or targeted assassinations, or families of those forcibly disappeared and presumed dead, have for years been a major force in advocating for the rights of their loved ones and for state accountability on rights violations in general. They are commonly referred to as “Justice Seeking Families” or “Khanevadeh-ye Dadkhah.” Nahid Shirpisheh’s son, Pouya Bakhtiari, was killed during protests in 2019.