Civil rights activist Farideh Moradkhani remains in solitary confinement

Three months on from her arrest and unlawful detention, civil rights activist, Ms. Farideh Moradkhani – a niece of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – remains languishing in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin Prison.

Islamic Republic regime security forces swooped upon Ms. Moradkhani as she returned to her home in Tehran on Friday 14 January 2022.  Agents from the regime’s ministry of intelligence proceeded to ransack her house and confiscated several of her personal belongings.  One day later, Ms. Moradkhani informed her family in a telephone call that she had been taken to Ward 209 of Evin Prison – a particularly notorious section of the prison overseen by the ministry of intelligence and reserved for political prisoners deemed to be enemies of the state.

Ms. Moradkhani, who is the daughter of Ayatollah Khamenei’s sister, is known for her outspokenness and activism against the death penalty in Iran.

However, according to comments made on Monday 17 January by her brother, Mahmoud, who currently resides in France, the grounds for her arrest and the charges tabled against her remained unclear.

The authorities “didn’t say why they arrested her when they took her away,” he said.

“But from what we have heard, she has a thick file [against her] and I believe that it is to a great extent related to the comments she made in an online event”, he added.

The online event in question was to mark the eighty-third birthday of Ms. Farah Pahlavi (Diba), the widow of the late Shah of Iran, currently living in exile between Paris and Washington D.C., during which Moradkhani recited a poem in praise of the former empress and addressed her as the “dear mother of my homeland” before going on to state that after Ms. Pahlavi had left Iran, “the nation’s art and culture were left without refuge and blackness enveloped this house.”

However, the Islamic Republic authorities have still not made clear on what grounds or charges Ms. Moradkhani has been detained and they continue to decline to do so.  This has prompted much speculation as to what might really be the real reason for Ms. Moradkhani’s detention, especially given her proximity in familial relations to the regime’s ultimate authority.  Ms. Moradkhani has been arrested on previous occasions on account of her civil rights activism and opposition to the application of capital punishment in Iran.

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