Two women’s rights activists, Yasaman Aryani and her mother, Monireh Arabshahi are being deprived of receiving prison leave despite Monireh needing ongoing medical care. The women were sentenced to 5.5 years in prison for their opposition to the Iranian regime’s policy of mandatory Hijab wearing.
Farzad Aryani, the husband of Monireh and the father of Yasaman, said, “My wife and daughter have not embezzled any money, nor have they committed murder. They spoke out in the best possible form by presenting flowers [to women on the International Women’s Day.] They must not be deprived of their right to have prison leave.”
Monireh and Yasaman were initially arrested in April 2019 and imprisoned at Qarchak Prison in Tehran. In August 2019, the women were transferred to the notorious Evin Prison, before later being sent to exile in Kachouii Prison in Karaj in October 2020.
Farzad Aryani, Yasaman’s father, posted an audio recording on social media, in which he said, Why the rights of prisoners, including my wife and daughter, are not observed?
Monireh Arabshahi first fell ill in December 2020, suffering from a swollen throat and having trouble breathing. Doctors at the prison recommended that she needed to go to the hospital to have her thyroid glands scanned to assess the situation, but this was denied by prison authorities.
Eventually, she was granted a medical leave at the beginning of May 2021 after paying a bail of 500 million Tomans. Following a thyroid gland operation, she was returned to Kachouii Prison on July 23, before being sent back to the hospital the following week after her health deteriorated but was forced to return to prison without receiving treatment.
A further medical leave was granted on August 4 until October for ongoing treatment, at which point she was once again summoned back to prison without fully completing her course of treatment.
Efforts to obtain prison leave for Yasaman Aryani to attend to her sick mother did not lead anywhere.
The Iranian regime has often resorted to the method of torturing political prisoners by depriving them of desperately needed medical treatment. This method has worsened in the case of the Covid-19 pandemic, where prisoners infected with the virus have been left unattended in contaminated sub-standard quarantine areas.
In Farzad Aryani’s audio recording he explained how in the past two years and seven months, his wife had only been granted a few days of medical leave to undergo her thyroid surgery, as did his daughter who needed dental surgery. He told how Monireh and Yasaman were both told by prison authorities that they did not deserve to have prison leave because of the fact that they were activists.
He said, “Political prisoners are imprisoned for expressing their views or defending people’s rights. Even prisoners detained on drug-related and murder charges enjoy prison leave. However, prison authorities do not allow [political prisoners] to enjoy their right to have prison leave.”