I am Atena Daemi, a human rights defender who was arrested for the first time in 2013 by the Iran Revolutionary Guards Intelligence service because of my activities in the field of human rights and opposition to the execution of women and child laborers. I was under interrogation for three months and was kept in solitary confinement. Then I was transferred to the women’s ward of Evin prison. After some time, I was sentenced to 14 years by the Islamic Revolutionary Court’s Judge Moqiseh. After 16 months of confinement, I was released from prison in February 2014 on bail until the appeal court was held and the final verdict was issued. I was temporarily free for nine months, during which the appeals court was held in the 36th branch of the Revolutionary Court. Another Islamic judge, Zargar, reduced the 14-year sentenced to 7 years, of which five years were applicable. 

Two months after the final verdict, in November 2016, I was arrested for executing the sentence and immediately faced a new wave of false accusations against myself and my family. I had no option other than going on a hunger strike on three separate occasions. 

My first hunger strike was in 2016 and lasted for 54 days. I was protesting against the bogus court case and prison sentence for my two sisters and brother-in-law. My resistance forced the Islamic Regime to drop the charges against my family, and they were acquitted, but I suffered severe physical damage and had to undergo surgery. 

In early 2017, I went on a hunger strike for the second time, for 16 days to protest my deportation to the Qarchak prison. Qarchak is one of Iran’s prisons and is specially designed for keeping female prisoners with general crimes and is unsuitable for political prisoners. In addition, the prison is located in the deserts around the east of Tehran, and its geographical location makes it particularly difficult for the families of the prisoners to visit.

I had to go on a hunger strike for the third time, this time for five days, to protest the poor condition of general crime prisoners in Lakan prison. Lakan is another prison in Rasht that does not meet any f the essential standards. 

While I was in prison to pass my five years sentence, the Islamic Regime of Iran opened eight other bogus cases against me. I received more prison time in two of those cases. One was for a statement that I had written in prison and had published on social media. I received two years prison sentence for it by the so-called judge Iman Afshari. 

My second case was about my protest against the killing of peaceful protesters in November 2019. As an act of defiance, I organized a sit-in in the office of the guard officer of the Evin prison. I was sentenced to one year in prison and 74 lashes by Judge Amouzad. In total, I was sentenced to 8 years and one month in prison, and 74 mandatory lashes. In 1996, I was exiled to Qarchak prison for three and a half months, and in March 2019, I was exiled to Lakan prison in Rasht, and finally, after six and a half years, I was released from prison by combining the last two cases in one.

Atena Daemi

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