Civil rights activist and journalist Sepideh Qolian. (Supplied)

June 17, 2020

A civil rights activist sentenced to five years in prison for her activism in support of unpaid workers says she was urged to write a letter requesting a pardon from the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

“I refused. Therefore, I must report to Qarchak Prison next Sunday,” 25-year-old Sepideh Qolyan (Gholian) said Tuesday, June 16, in a video message on her Instagram page.

Qolian who spend more than a year in prison was granted a temporary release on bail during the COVID-19 outbreak but was called back to report to court.

“When I entered the courthouse in Evin (Tehran’s infamous prison), the judge presiding over the First Branch court told a soldier to send me in. I asked what was the issue of pardon about? They told me I should write a petition requesting a pardon from the leadership (Khamenei), and they will see what they could do for me,” Qolyan disclosed on her Instagram account, adding, “When I said that I refuse to do so, they said that I will be arrested and transferred to Qarchak prison.”

Qolian was convicted for her involvement in three separate legal cases, including the Haft Tapeh Sugar Mill protests in 2018, reporting about ethnic Arab prisoners, and revealing the role of a state-run TV reporter in interrogating suspects.

She has also said in her Instagram post that she had prepared a detailed report on the issue of pardon by the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader, and will publish it on Sunday, before presenting herself to the notorious prison, Qarchak, south of the Iranian capital city, Tehran.


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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.