Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Raheleh Zokayi, a female prisoner exiled to Gharchak and Ramin prison launched a hunger strike on April 23rd, demanding to be transferred back to Evin prison.
According to CHRR, when this female prisoner realized that she has been banned from visitation in the new facility, she launched a hunger strike in protest and demanded to be transferred back to Evin.
On December 26, 2012, Raheleh Zokayi was transferred from Evin to Gharchak and Ramin prison. At that time upon her return from furlough, inspection officers at Evin prison engaged in a confrontation with Zakayi, and fabricated a report to their superiors resulting in her transfer order.
Raheleh Zokayi was among a group of female detainees at Evin prison who launched a hunger strike that began on October 31, 2012 in protest of their maltreatment at the facility. She became known as the unknown prisoner when hers was the only frame without a picture on posters that circulated of the hunger striking female prisoners.
Zokayi was arrested in 2002 when she was 19 years old on the charge of armed robbery and sentenced to four years in prison. She was later handed an additional 10 years when she took responsibility for possessing some of the drugs found in her cellmate’s belongings.
The blog “Women Behind Prison Bars” wrote the following about this female prisoner: “She discussed the reason for her first arrest with incarcerated reporter [and member of One Million Signatures Campaign to End Discriminatory Laws], Maryam Hosseinkhah, who was held in the public women’s ward at Evin with Raheleh Zokayi. She said that since the age of 11, her uncles used her as a pawn to cover their theft and her family members had forced her into accompanying them during attempted armed robberies in order to throw off suspicion. Raheleh Zokayi said she received an additional 10-year prison sentence for possession of illegal substances because she covered for one of her cellmates by holding some of her drugs in order to spare her cellmate from the death penalty.”
On November 12, 2012, the blog reported that Raheleh Zokayi’s parents are also in prison. She was married off at the age of 13 and a few years later her husband who was a member of a drug smuggling gang from the eastern region of the country was killed by gunfire during a shoot-out, leaving her with a son. After the death of her husband, Raheleh returned to her father’s home and once again was forced to accompany her uncles during robberies. The blog also reported that Zokayi has not been able to have contact with her lawyer during this time.
In 2009 Zokayi was first handed the death penalty, which was later commuted to an additional year in prison stemming from her helping political prisoners in Evin prison with obtaining phone calls.
Raheleh Zokayi’s 12-year old son who lives with her sister was only a year old when his mother was incarcerated in 2002, and he lacks the birth certificate required to register for school.