Civil rights activist and journalist Sepideh Qolian. (Supplied)

October 12, 2021

The brother of Iranian activist-cum-citizens’ journalist Sepideh Gholian reported Monday that his sister, on prison furlough, had been arrested at her home.

“A few minutes ago over thirty female and male agents attacked Sepideh Gholian’s house, abducted her and took her to an unknown place, ”Mehdi Gholian wroteon Insatgram. “They also confiscated the mobile phones of all other family members.”

An hour later Mehdi Gholian wrote in another social-media post that the Prisons Organization was responsible for the arrest.

In a series of tweets in September, Sepideh Gholian (Qolian), who was on parole from Bushehr prison, southern Iran, alleged abuse of female prisoners in the prison. She wrote that she had reported 20 cases to the authorities, including five described in her tweets, but had received no response.

“I knew I would face a godforsaken hell when I was banished to this prison last year,” wrote Gholian, who had been sent to Bushehr prison in early March from Evin prison, Tehran. “But I couldn’t even imagine the brutality reigning in this prison.”

In March 2021, Gholian was taken “in handcuffs and chains,” according to labor activist Esmail Bakhshi, from Evin to Bushehr, 1000km from Tehran. Bakhshi said Gholian had been told she was being taken to Ahvaz prison in her native Khuzestan province and only later realized she was in Bushehr, 430km from Ahvaz.

Gholian was sentenced to five years’ jail for ‘disrupting public order’ and‘assembly and collusion against national security’ after arrest in 2018 following her role in publicizing labor protests in Khuzestan. Gholian’s memoir from time in Sepidar prison, Khuzestan, was published by Iran Wirein June 2020. She has gone on hunger strike several times.

Gholian made a confession that was aired by state television (IRIB) in January 2019. In the program she was described as an agent provocateur with ties to Marxist groups abroad who had encouraged a strike at the Haft Tappeh Agro-Industrial Complex in Khuzestan.

Gholian later alleged that Ameneh-Sadat Zabihpour, an IRIB journalist involved in filming the confession, had been involved as an interrogator and had tortured her to her to confess before the camera. Confessions, often full of claims of links to foreign conspiracies, have long played a significant role in Iranian political trials.

Iran International

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.