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Where is Arash Sadeghi?: Rooz Follows Up on an Iranian Political Prisoner

By Fereshteh Ghazi, Rooz Online

Close to 200 political activists published a letter through which they announced that disturbing rumors had been circulating about the condition of Arash Sadeghi who had started a hunger strike "because he had been beaten by security agents." In the blogosphere there were even more disturbing news about his situation and there were rumors that this student activist had lost his life in prison. But where is Arash Sadeghi? What is his condition and why has he not been transferred to the general ward of the prison like other political prisoners and continues to be kept in the notorious Ward 209 of Evin Prison?

Free Arash Sadeghi facebook page

These are questions for which the attorney for Sadeghi's family has no answers despite having asked this question repeatedly of various officials. Arash's father Hossein Sadeghi and their attorney Alizadeh Tabatabai spoke with Rooz and denied the rumor that Arash had died while admitting that their efforts to learn about his health and whereabouts have produced no results.

"We have found out that Arash is under a hunger strike and has been violently mistreated by prison agents. But our efforts to get more information about his have produced no results," the father of the student prisoner told Rooz.

Rooz asked about Arash's whereabouts and his father said, "They do not tell us. All we know is that he is Ward 209. That is all they tell us. I have had no visitations with him Arash despite seeing many officials all over. Officials have asked us not to talk about him or have the media publish anything about him. They have not told us where he is or why they are treating him this way. All we know is that he is alive."

Hossein Sadeghi is afraid to talk with us about his concerns or about his imprisoned son for fear of greater punishment befalling on his son. Their attorney Tabatabai too does not have much to say. "The only news that I have of Arash is that he is in Evin's Ward 209. We had no news at all prior to this. We have heard that he is on a hunger strike and that he had been beaten up, but nobody has confirmed or denied this," he said.

Rooz asked him about the rumors that he had died and that the rumor had originated from him, but he denied saying this, while stressing that he has no news about Arash's condition despite his efforts to find this out from authorities.

Tabatabai also said that he had been Arash's attorney in his first case, but not this one, "even though I used my previous power of attorney to find out about Arash's situation this time. But to no avail"

Rooz asked whether it was legal to keep Arash in Ward 209 and why had he not been transferred to the general ward, like others, to which Tabatabai said, "Until a final charge has been filed, the prosecutor can relegate a defendant to a specialist to complete the investigation of the case. But the issue is many attorneys do not view the ministry of intelligence to be the legal agents of the judiciary and ward 209 is in the hands of the ministry of intelligence, not the judiciary." He added that a sentence had been issued over Arash's first case but his file had been reopened over which we have no details because they have not provided any information."

Arash Sadeghi was a Masters student in philosophy and a member of reformist Mir-Hossein Mousavi's presidential campaign in 2009, while also being a member of the central council of the Islamic society of Alamaeh Tabatabai University. He was arrested for the first time in July 2009 during a public demonstration and protests against the announcement that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won the 2009 presidential race. He was released on bail but was arrested again eight months later and released shortly on bail.

Arash was arrested for the third time on January 15, 2012 and has been kept in Ward 209 of Evin Prison since then. Arash's mother suffered a heart attack when agents stormed their house that fateful night to arrest Arash and died. Speaking to Rooz in November of 2010, Arash had said, "Agents came to our house on November 10 between 4 and 4:30 pm and since nobody opened the house they broke the windows to get in. Then they created a commotion and inspected the house. When they broke into the house, my mother was traumatized had a heart seizure and fell on her bed. She died four days later in hospital."

He had been sentenced to 6 years of prison and 74 whip slashes on charges of participating in a demonstration against the regime and engaging in propaganda against the regime. His sentence was later reduced to five years and he should have been transferred to the general ward after receiving his trial and sentence, but he continued to be held in the interrogation solitary cell ward.

It is because of this situation that 197 political, civil and human rights activists have signed and sent a letter to state authorities indicating their concerns for Arash's condition and whereabouts. The letter states that Arash had been violently treated in prison and that he had gone on a hunger strike to protest this treatment.

... Payvand News - 06/18/13 ... --

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