Arash Sadeghi and Golrokh Ebrahimi-IraeeAs many human rights activists feared, Obama's nuclear deal has given Iran's judiciary the confidence to crackdown even more harshly on civil society activists. Whereas European delegations would previously travel to Iran and criticise the country's human rights record, meeting with dissidents or with their families, the only delegations visiting after the nuclear deal are promoting trade, each eager to grab a slice of the profit before their partners do.
Some of the prison sentences handed to Iranian dissidents in recent months have been alarming even by the standards of the Islamic Republic. These include a sixteen year prison sentence for the prominent Iranian human rights defender, Nargess Mahommadi, which has received some coverage in the international media.
Also of grave concern is the status of prisoners Arash Sadeghi and his wife Golrokh Ebrahimi-Iraee. Former student activist Arash Sadeghi was sentenced to 19 years for charges of “assembly and collusion against national security”, “propaganda against the state”, “spreading lies in cyberspace” and “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic". Arash was also one of the vocal dissidents against the nuclear deal and the lifting of the sanctions.
His wife Golrokh Ebrahimi-Iraee has also been sentenced to six years imprisonment for writing a book, which has not even been published, on the barbaric punishment of stoning.
Arash started a hunger strike on 24th October in protest against the unjust sentence handed out to his wife, Golrokh, and he is now in grave danger. The judiciary and prison authorities in Iran have shown little concern for his well being and hence many Iranian activists outside the country have started a campaign to publicise his case and seek help from the international community.
Many have publicly asked Arash to end his hunger strike but so far he has decided to continue until his wife's sentence is lifted. Without international pressure, the Islamic Republic's judiciary is unlikely to revise its judgement.
Free Arash Sadeghi Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Free.Arash.Sadeghi/