Arash Sadeghi: Prisoner of the day

Imprisoned student activist, refuses to ask for clemency

The Guardian:  When the Iranian student activist Arash Sadeghi was temporarily released from Tehran's Evin prison in November 2010, he anticipated a little respite from a year of harsh beatings and agony in jail.

Instead, within a few days,  security officials had raided his home in middle of the night. As they broke their way into the house, Sadeghi's mother, who was alone with her daughter, suffered a heart attack.

The officials continued their search as she laid unconscious on the floor, ransacking the house and trying to find Sadeghi, who was at his grandfather's house that  night. When the officials left, Farahnaz Dargahi was taken to hospital. She died within a few days.

"My father, my sister and my entire family and relatives blame me for her death," Sadeghi told the news website Roozonline at the time. "Our house has become hell … My father tells me that you killed your mother and I don't want you at home … I prefer to go back to jail."

In no time, Sadeghi, a 26-year-old student of philosophy at Tehran's Allameh Tabatabai University, was indeed taken back to prison. Since then he has spent all but one month in jail. For the past 11 months, Sadeghi has been held in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer.

His father, Hossein Sadeghi, works for the Iranian army and lives in a house given to his family by the state. Having initially blamed his son for what happened to their family, now that he has witnessed the injustices he has suffered Hossein is ready to risk his job and even arrest to speak out for the first time.

"I regret what I said about him in the past," he told the Guardian on the phone from Tehran. "I haven't been able to see him and tell him myself … but I'm sorry."

According to  Sadeghi senior, his son went on hunger strike recently in support of a fellow inmate, Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki, a 25-year-old blogger who is serving a 15-year prison term.

"Arash is deprived of his very basic rights," his father said. "He had no access to a lawyer in the past 11 months and was only allowed to meet his grandfather twice." Sadeghi's grandfather has previously been arrested for speaking out about him.

"His health deteriorated to a point that they transferred him to hospital," he said. "One of the nurses managed to call us and tell us that his health was seriously bad … She said  one of his ears was injured due to severe beatings."

Sadeghi is accused of "gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security", a vague charge used against many student activists.

Sadeghi's father said: "Every month, the intelligence services summon me and threaten me that they would kick me out of my house and fire me should I choose to speak out … But I have no fear any more … They want to silence us."

Drewery Dyke, of Amnesty International, said  the journey of Arash Sadeghi's father was one that was happening more and more often, especially in the second term of office of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

According to Dyke, the death in custody of the Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti last month, which sparked international outrage, has inspired many, like Hossein Sadeghi, to speak out.

"What it shows us, as in the case of the family of blogger Sattar Beheshti, is that more and more Iranians have reached the conclusion that no one in the country is willing or able to help them, and so, now, despite all the pressures that the authorities can bring to bear, family members themselves are speaking out," he said. "And these are not families of notable activists but normal families who simply demand want justice and for their dignity to be acknowledged."

He added: "The authorities may have repressed much of the the human rights community in Iran, but the brave acts of speaking out – exemplified by Arash Sadeghi's father and a handful of others – tells us that the authorities have not repressed the essential thirst for justice and human dignity sought be Iranians. That, they cannot quash."

Dyke said the criminal justice system of Iran was in "something of a shambles" and the plight of Arash Sadeghi was typical. "He is held on a temporary order, with cases based on vaguely worded criminal charges before him. There are scores of such cases adrift in the criminal justice system in Iran today. Why? The basic humanity that underpins effective case management appears absent, so that it takes a case of a death in custody, like Sattar Beheshti, to jolt awake judicial officials."

In his interview with Roozonline, Sadeghi  revealed a glimpse of his torment in jail. "I endured a lot of pressure during my incarceration," he said "I was beaten so severely that my shoulder was twice dislocated and my teeth were broken," he said, according to the translation of the interview published on

"The beatings, slapping around and kicking were bearable, what was most difficult to endure was when they removed the hair on my body. The worst thing they did to me was to remove the hair on my face, arms and chest. For this reason, my face was scarred. They used to blindfold us and punch and kick us severely in the face. As a result of these beatings my eye was bleeding once and I couldn't see for a long time."

Last week Sadeghi sent out a letter from inside Evin to Tehran's prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dowlatabad, telling him  he would not apologise.

"You had said that I should write an apology … I haven't done anything wrong to apologise and request clemency," he wrote. "It's you and your friends and colleagues who should apologise to the people of Iran for the physical elimination of some of your opposition in the past 33 years."


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Support Arash Sadeghi NOW! Don't wait for" Regiem change."

by Zendanian on

Dear friends, contrary to war mongers on

this site, Political Prisoners in Iran need our support in their
defense NOW, without any delay,and can not wait for a "regime change" or
to come to free them from their prison cell.

Keep in mind that all these political prisoners inside Iran also oppose
sanctions, and war.

Also, please recall, there have been many cases of Iranian Political
Prisoners being freed from jail due to public pressure put on officials
of IR. With all the resources at our disposal, it would take only a
moment to write a letter of protest in support of Political Prisoners in
Iran. But such small actions will go a long way for our most brave
Political Prisoners in Iran. Lets not leave them alone in their hour of

Please do take a minute out of your schedule and send this protest letter below, or you own version. Many thanks in advance 


I (we) am writing to protest the continued persecution of  student activists and the gross violation of Human Rights in Iran. We
continue to witness many  student activists brutally persecuted and unjustly imprisoned in Iran.

In particular, this letter is written to express my (our)
serious concern about the health and well being of
Mr. Arash Sadeghi who has been unjustly incarcerrated only because of his independent views and social activism.


I (we) demand the immediate and unconditional freedom
Mr. Arash Sadeghi, and  all other political prisoners in Iran and call on the
Islamic Republic of Iran to respect the right of  all Iranians   to
organize, assemble and freedom of religion, association and expression.  




Please send your protests letters to:,,;;,,,;;;;

An injury to one, is an injury to all.


This kind of fights will

by SMotaghed on

This kind of fights will get nowhere.

Either don't do it or do it right!!!


Marg bar IRR/IRI with

by Azarbanoo on

All akhounds , their thugs and supporters.


Regime change for Arash's sake

by Fred on

The warmongering, Iranian men, women and children raping, maiming, murdering Messianic Islamist Rapists, “reformers” and all are proven reform-proof and must be overthrown.

Backbreaking airtight sanctions plus air/naval quarantine is a must.