April 30, 2021
Political prisoner Arash Sadeghi has spoken out about the plight of prisoners’ families, providing a detailed account of the harassment and threats they endure and the pressures they face.
In an appeal to Javid Rahman, the United Nations Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Iran, Sadeghi said the human rights of these families were being systematically violated and cited widespread suppression, imprisonment, torture, harassment and even murder of family members of jailed political activists and prisoners of conscience.
The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported that the open letter was published on April 28. In it, Sadeghi states that the Iranian regime is willing to do anything to protect itself — including going against the tenets of Shia Islam and committing crimes. As evidence, he quotes Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic, who said “maintaining the regime is an absolute obligation.” This ideological principle, Sadeghi says, justifies any behavior.
Sadeghi’s letter says the family members of political prisoners are psychologically tortured and harassed, including children. They are often banned from visiting their loved ones, their property and possessions are routinely confiscated, and in some cases, authorities have pressured spouses to divorce their jailed husbands and wives. Many are forced into exile.
Sadeghi’s letter points out the cruelty and injustice of extending criminal punishment for an individual to others. Punishment, he says, should be considered solely for the guilty party and it is illegal for any other person to be punished for the crimes of another.
He also reminds Special Rapporteur Rahman of the mass executions of 1988, and the secret executions of thousands prisoners throughout the 1980s, which have largely been referred to in the human rights community as “forced disappearances.” Given these historical crimes, Sadeghi says, it is clear that these violations of the rights of prisoners and their families has been going on for decades.
Arash Sadeghi is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence on three charges: “conspiracy against national security”, “insulting the leader of the Islamic Republic” and “propaganda against the regime”.
Sadeghi was arrested in June 2016 and transferred to Evin Prison to serve his sentence. He was transferred to Rajaei Shahr Prison in Karaj in October 2017, where he is currently being held.