January 25, 2023

Rights Defender Arash Sadeghi Released from Unjust Imprisonment

Arash Sadeghi, a long-time defender of human rights in Iran, has been released following an unjust 100-day-imprisonment in Evin Prison. Security forces arrested Sadeghi again during the “Women, Life, Freedom” protests on October 10, 2022, and he contacted his family two days later and reported his imprisonment in Evin Prison.

On December 2, UN human rights experts expressed concern about Arash’s worsening health condition during imprisonment. The UN experts warned that “Arash Sadeghi has dangerous bone cancer and has not been able to obtain some of the medicines he needs since his arrest in October.” Sadeghi, who has chondrosarcoma, lacked access to his medication, underscoring the unjust conditions that endangered the life of Sadeghi.

Despite the threat to his life from imprisonment, Sadeghi had urged his friends and family to focus on the plight of hundreds of unknown and nameless prisoners, rather than his own case. This underscores Sadeghi’s selflessness and commitment to champion the rights of others.

Sadeghi was first arrested in September 2009 along with a number of other students and was imprisoned for one year. Security forces later raided Sadeghi’s home, sending his mother into a heart attack that tragically proved fatal. Sadeghi continued to deal with arrests from Iranian authorities and was sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Revolutionary Court on charges of assembly and collusion against internal security, insulting the leadership, forming illegal groups, and propagandizing against the regime. Sadeghi’s 4-year suspended sentence from 2009 was also reinstated by Judge Pourarab, and he was facing a sentence of 19 years in prison in total.

During the second round of his imprisonment, Arash Sadeghi went on a hunger strike and was taken to the hospital several times. During his 70-day hunger strike, he suffered irreparable damage to his kidneys, intestines, stomach, and heart muscles. During the same period of prison, Arash Sadeghi was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma bone cancer, and his failure to treat it led to more severe problems. As a result of public pressure, Arash Sadeghi finally underwent surgery in 2018 after his condition was reported to be severe.

On Saturday, May 1, 2021, Arash Sadeghi was finally released from Rajaeeshahr prison in Karaj citing the “Reduction of Penalty Imprisonment Law”, after enduring five years and six months of imprisonment.

Arash continued to inform about Iranian prisoners and human rights violations after he was released from prison until his detention in October 2022.

Sadeghi’s history of repeated imprisonment and worsening health underscores just how much many rights defenders have sacrificed in the hope of a brighter future for their country and compatriots. The National Iranian American Council welcomes Sadeghi’s release and urges Iranian authorities to release all those prisoners of conscience who have been unjustly detained and who are greatly suffering amid the months-long protests.

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