Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
Tragic news about the deaths of the wife and the mother of an exiled
political prisoner as they were on their way back from visiting him in Masjed-e
Soleyman Prison has shocked Iranians worldwide. Nahid Rahmani, mother, and Ziba
Sadeghzadeh, wife, of Amir Reza (Payman) Arefi, were on their way back from
their monthly trip to Masjed-e-Soleyman (500 miles southwest of Tehran), where
Payman Arefi is serving his 15 year prison sentence in exile, when they died in
a car crash.
Amir Reza (Payman) Arefi and his late wife Ziba Sadeghzadeh
Payman Arefi, now 25, was first arrested in March 2009 on charges of
supporting The Kingdom Assembly of Iran. Though he was in prison at the time of
the protests following the disputed June 2009 presidential election, Arefi was
put on trial at Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court on charges of
interfering in the 2009 elections after he made confessions under torture about
his involvement in the protests.
In his "confessions" at a post-election show trial, Payman Arefi "confessed"
to having been present in the June 2009 protests, even though he had been in
prison for several months when the protests began. Branch 15 of Tehran
Revolutionary Court first sentenced Arefi to death; his sentence was later
reduced to 15 years in exile at appeals level.
The Chain Road (by Mana Neyestani, Iran Wire)
Another prisoner, Arash Rahmani Pour, was not so lucky. Arrested in April
2009 and tried in the same show trials where he, too, was forced to confess to
things he could not have done, he was executed suddenly in January 2010. His
defense lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, told the Campaign only hours after his
execution on January 28, 2010, "Arash's sentence had no reason other than to
create fear and intimidation. Despite what has been announced on the
Revolutionary Court's web site, Arash was not arrested in the post-elections
events. He had been arrested in April, two months before the [June 15] elections
at his home." Sotoudeh also added at the time that Arash Rahmani Pour had
provided his televised "confessions" under immense psychological and physical
According to Iranian laws, convicts can be sentenced to prison terms or to
live in exile in remote locations, but combining prison sentences with exile is
an illegal sentence the Iranian Judiciary has begun to implement against many
dissidents, political prisoners, and prisoners of conscience in the recent years
to further punish them. The practice also punishes the families of the prisoners
by forcing them to travel long distances for their weekly visits with their
relatives. Iranian laws also stipulate that prisoners should be sent to prison
facilities near their places of residence, a consideration which is not observed
in the cases of most political prisoners.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran demands that the Iranian
Judiciary end the illegal practice of issuing prison sentences in exile. The
Campaign also urges a judicial review of the rulings in the cases of dozens of
political prisoners who have been sentenced to cruel punishments without access
to due process.
The text below is from the Facebook page of Ziba Sadeghzadeh, Payman Arefi's
deceased wife, as reported by Iranian Journalist Jila Baniyaghoub.
"Cloudy weather, rainy eyes, the unforgettable memories of 2009:
After my visit with Payman, his mom and I were returning from the Evin
[Prison] visitation hall. Because of stress and the worries we had, not only
didn't we feel well, it was even hard for us to breathe. Every day the
environment became more tense than the day before, and our minds were more
constrained than the day before.
On the way back, we were so depressed, we sought a little solace by
looking at Evin from the top of a pedestrian overpass near the prison.
Looking at Evin at least helped us feel closer to Payman.... Watching this
scene, my mind was racing as fast as the cars underneath the pedestrian
bridge. I was too weak to stand up, so I sat down on the bridge. I lost
track of time. When I got up and dusted my clothes, my wedding ring flew out
of my hand. I heard it hit the bridge and it fell down on the same road on
which the cars were passing as fast as my thoughts. I should say that
because of my weak state, I had become very superstitious. I had spent three
months in detention. I had lost 14 kilograms, this is why my wedding band
came off so easily, but I wasn't willing to remove the ring.
At that moment I wasn't thinking about anything other than the ring. All
I was thinking about was how to find the ring however way I could. I ran
down. I was crying and my eyes had become blurry, and I couldn't even see
where the ring had landed. Hours were passing and it was getting dark.... I
could only feel the ground with the palms of my hands and my fingers....
Finally, with the help of a few people, I was able to find the ring. The
ring was found, but it no longer looked like a ring. A car had driven over
it and it had been shattered and cut in half."
... Payvand News - 12/21/13 ... --