Bahareh Hedayati, a prominent Iranian women’s rights activist has written a letter from her prison cell calling on her compatriots to unite behind principles such as democracy and freedoms, as a wave nationwide protests against the clerical mullah regime entered its third month. She said that a revolution to topple the cruel mullah regime is “inevitable” because this regime has always been “the enemy of this land, of this nation”. Hedayati was arrested on October 11, 2022 amid a brutal state crackdown on the anti-government protests sparked by the September death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of Iran’s notorious morality police.
It may be mentioned here that hundreds of pro-democracy and anti-mullah-regime protesters have been killed by Iran’s security forces, including children during past several months.
Norway-based Iran Human Rights group says, more than 18,000 people have reportedly been detained, and at least 28 of them have been handed capital punishment. Iran carried out the first execution on December 8, followed by a second one four days later, triggering international condemnation.
“Getting rid of this criminal government is bound to be costly and fraught with danger. There is no other way but to pay this cost and to face up to the dangers because this [regime] is unable to recognize new social forces and to assimilate them within itself”, Bahareh Hedayat said in her letter.
The activist praised the young and courageous people who are taking to the streets across Iran, saying, “This generation of protesters has not resorted to any religious or pseudo-religious concepts to tell us what it wants or does not want, and this is a great achievement”.
She called on Iranians to unite around “vital ideas such as democracy, secularism, social justice…territorial integrity and rights such as freedom of assembly to facilitate the transition from an existing corrupt situation to the next milestone”.
Bahareh Hedayat has been incarcerated several times before. She is a founding member of One Million Signatures Campaign, which aimed to gather support for the elimination of laws that discriminate against women.
Meanwhile, eighteen female political and civil rights activists imprisoned in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison are calling on Iranians to take to the streets to protest the execution of protesters.
The activists announced in an open letter published by HRANA human rights news agency on December 12 that they will hold a sit-in outside the management building of the prison to protest sham trials and executions of demonstrators.
“To tear the rope from around the throat of our youth…we stand up. There is no other way. This time let’s occupy the streets of the city shouting, ‘Stop executions’, and let’s continue the strikes with more power and inclusiveness”, the letter reads.
The activists issued their call after Iranian authorities hanged a man in public on December 12 over the alleged killing of two members of security forces, in the second reported execution linked to ongoing nationwide protests in less than a week.
Iran’s infamous Evin prison
Atena Daemi, a human rights activist, has reported the dire situation for female inmates in Iran’s notorious Evin prison in a series of posts on Twitter.
The report indicates extremely poor health conditions in the detention center, including “dirty” bathrooms, with prison authorities refusing to give the prisoners cleaning supplies despite repeated requests.
Daemi wrote that her report was based on the stories of women who had recently been released from Evin’s Ward 209.
“Due to the large number of inmates, the number of showers is limited, and prisoners are only allowed to use them twice a week. Severe hair loss, dandruff and fear of lice have been reported among the prisoners”, Daemi wrote.
“Cells are overcrowded and not ventilated. When a person gets sick, all inmates in the cell are exposed to the disease (seven to eight people). There is nowhere to walk in the cell or even stretch your legs, lie down or sit”, she added.
“Despite the conclusion of the interrogation and the transfer of the case to the court, detainees continue to be interrogated and are not informed about the extension of the arrest warrant’, Daemi said.