Free Atena Daemi: Frontier’s Advocacy on International Women Day

Free Atena Daemi: Frontier’s Advocacy on International Women Day

A young civil activist who has been held at Evin Prison since October 2014 was sentenced to seven years in prison at her interrogator’s urging in May 2015.  Atena Daemi, now 30 years, was 27 in 2015, when she was held for several months under “temporary detention” despite her lawyer’s repeated requests for her release on bail. Atena was found ‘guilty’ under four charges: “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” “insulting the Supreme Leader and the sacred,” and “concealing crime evidence” by a Tehran Revolutionary Court. Daemi did not accept any of her charges and has since appealed the court’s ruling.

According to our source, “all charges are based on her posts on Facebook, information stored on her cellular phone, and her participation in gatherings against the death penalty and gatherings in support of the children of Kobane [in Syria].

Daemi, who worked at the Revolution Sports Club in Tehran, was arrested on October 21, 2014, by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and has been in detention in Evin Prison ever since. Her trial was held on March 7, 2015. She and her lawyer were informed of the sentence on May 12, 2015.

“She was accused of ‘insulting the Supreme Leader and the sacred’ because of some jokes and some Shahin Najafi [protest] songs found on her cell phone. Other than these, there is no other [evidence of] actions Atena may have taken about these two charges. She has repeatedly apologized and explained that she meant no insult,” said the source.

“Many people in Iran may have these songs and jokes on their cell phones, but they are not charged or sent to prison. It is clear in Atena’s case that the interrogator’s personal taste is at work,” added the source.

“Atena was convicted of ‘assembly and collusion against national security,’ and ‘propaganda against the state,’ for her opposition to forced hijab [female dress] through her Facebook posts, and her opposition to the capital punishment through participating in gatherings, as well as gatherings she attended to protest the situation of Kobane children [in Syria],” the source added.

Regarding evidence for the charge of “concealing crime evidence,” our source informed that, “Atena was asked to provide the password to the Facebook page of one of her friends, who is also imprisoned, during interrogations. Atena swore that she had forgotten the password, but her interrogator believed that she was lying and that she was hiding the crime evidence.”

“Her family is hopeful that her case [will be] reviewed based on justice, humanity, and the law at the appeals level, and not based on personal taste. This girl has done nothing intentionally to deserve four charges and seven years in prison,” said the source.

The source further informed that Daeemi is thoroughly devastated by the sentence. “Atena was very hopeful of being acquitted and released, but now she faces seven years in prison. It means she will have to spend the best years of her life at Evin. She is in such dire shape, her family have sent her tranquilizers.”

Atena Daemi and four other young individuals by the names of Omid Alishenas, Ali Nouri, Atena Feraghdani, and Aso Rostami, were separately interrogated in the same case. Atena Feraghdani’s case was later separated and reviewed independently. To date we have no information about the outcome of the other individuals’ prosecution.

We believe that the four charges, “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” “insulting the Supreme Leader and the sacred,” and “concealing crime evidence” by a Tehran Revolutionary Court, do not constitute crimes under contemporary international world order.

We hail Atena Daemi for not accepting any of the so-called charges. We therefore call on the Iranian government to free Atena Daemi.

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