Maryam Shafipour, student activist, former member of Mehdi Karroubi ‘s presidential election campaign and student deprived of her education was arrested on August 5, 2013 by Iran ‘s Intelligence Ministry. According to reports, several days ago she was transferred from prison to a hospital without the knowledge of her family. Her father says he has not been told of her daughter‘s whereabouts, her condition and reason for her arrest, or her transfer to the hospital.
Mr. Mahmoud Shafipour in a conversation on September17, 2013 with the International Campaign for Human Rights in response to the question of when he became aware of her daughter‘s transfer to the hospital said, “We were allowed to have a cabin visit in prison on Monday but when I went there, prison officials informed us that they had sent her to the hospital and we can visit Maryam tomorrow morning [the next day]. We waited in front of the prison until noon on Tuesday, but we were not allowed to even make a phone call. Officers did not give us any answers as to why she was taken to the hospital, if she is still in the hospital or returned to jail; we still have no idea.”
Shafipour’s father added that her 25-year old daughter has been in solitary confinement for 50 days in which she only called her parents twice and that they had only 2 cabin visits in front of the her case prosecutor and her investigator during this time. It was during their second visit that she told them that she was suffering with severe pain and numbness in her right arm and had a terrible toothache. Her father said she looked extremely weak at the time, explain that she is a delicate, sensitive 25-year old girl and does not handle stress well. “Our daughter’s place is in a university following her dreams and aspirations – not in a dark, damp, scary prison cell.”
According to her father, Maryam Shafipour is accused of “conspiracy against national security.” Mr. Shafipour said, “I demand to be provided with evidence substantiating claims of my daughter’s alleged conspiracy against national security. She has not been allowed to hire a lawyer because of being in solitary confinement. Every time I ask the authorities about the charges against Maryam they do not give me any convincing answers or any response at all.”
Maryam’s father who is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war in his early 60 ‘s added, “I am over 60 years old and I’ve worked hard all these years and have never witnessed such a behavior until now. Prison guards and judicial authorities do not even respond to our basic concerns and questions as worried parents. I wrote numerous letters to authorities without any results. I urge President Rouhani and his new government to help us get to the bottom of this matter and send her case to court as soon as possible. If she has not committed any crime or wrongdoing, they must release her from solitary confinement and better yet, from prison altogether. I repeat I am only a concerned and worried father and I want my daughter to come back home.”
More details of the case were shared by a source close to the family of Maryam Shafipour who requested anonymity. The source said that on Tuesday when the family visited Evin Court, the case prosecutor Mr. Khorshidi told them to track the status of the case at the Revolutionary Court and he also stressed that from then on their daughter would not have any visitation privileges and would be denied phone calls. One of her investigating officers who goes by the name Bahari told Mr. Shafipour that his daughter will not be granted release on bail pending her trial and that it would be in her interest to ask his daughter to cooperate with officials.
Maryam Shafipour‘s sick mother, a retired teacher with heart disease has not been spared from the harassment of agents either; on one occasion when she was home alone government agents arrived unannounced and without a warrant, made threats and warned her to be silent.
Maryam Shafipour is a former agricultural engineering student from Qazvin International University who was suspended after 2 semesters and was expelled from university on her eighth semester due to her student activities and her weblog.
Maryam was handed a summons to appear at the Prosecutor’s office in mid July of this year. She appeared at Branch 2 of Evin prison’s Shahid Moghoddas Court on August 5th per the summons order and was subsequently detained and transferred behind bars in Evin prison.