Iran: Amnesty International calls on Iranian authorities to immediately release prisoner of conscience

Amnesty International has made a call for immediate action regarding the imprisonment of Maryam Akbari Monfared, a prisoner of conscience who is serving a 15-year sentence at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. She is currently facing reprisals after she filed an official complaint seeking justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre.

At the minute she is being denied important medical treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid problems. In a letter to her family, prison officials said that healthcare arrangements had been cancelled because she has become too “brazen”. 

In late 2009 Maryam Akbari Monfared was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in jail on charges such as “enmity against God”. Amnesty International describes her trial as terribly unfair and say that she was only arrested because she made phone calls to her siblings and had visited them at Camp Ashraf in Iraq. 

At the beginning of her time in jail she spent well over a month in solitary confinement. She was subject to intense interrogations and had no legal access. She was given a state-appointed lawyer that she met at her trial (which was a single and brief session). She was never given a reasoned judgement and her husband said that during the trial the judge said she was paying the price of her brother and sister’s activities with the PMOI. She then had her appeals dismissed with no reasoning. 

Amnesty International calls for her immediate and unconditional release because “she is a prisoner of conscience whose conviction is based on an arbitrary interference with her privacy, family and correspondence”. It also calls for her access to medical care that is absolutely essential to her well-being. 

Finally, it calls on the Iranian authorities to “stop the harassment and persecution of families of the victims of 1988 mass executions and respect their rights to truth, justice and reparation, including by conducting a thorough, effective and independent investigation and bringing to justice those responsible in fair proceedings without recourse to the death penalty”.