Arash Sadeghi - Political Prisoner
Arash Sadeghi, born on 30th November 1986, is an Iranian activist and a political prisoner in Iran. He has been detained on several occasions and today serves a 19 years’ imprisonment sentence in Rajaeishahr Prison in Tehran.
His first arrest was during the 2009 protest due to his activities at university. He was jailed for 90 days and then released, but several months later, he was detained again. The regime’s intelligent service agents raided his house and as a result his mother suffered a heart attack. While she was lying unconscious on the floor, the agents continued rampaging through their belongings and ignored her condition. Arash’s mother died a couple of days later in hospital while his son was in prison.
Arash was released from prison on bail but was arrested again in 2014 by the IRGC and charged with several indictments including gathering and colluding against internal security, insulting the supreme leader, forming illegal groups, propaganda against the regime, and more. Based on these charges, the court sentenced him to 19 years imprisonment. During his time in jail, he went on several hunger strikes to protest against the regime’s treatment towards him and his family. In 2016, the regime’s agents raided Arash’s wife, Golrokh Iraei’s house and arrested her. She was sentenced to 6 years in prison for senseless non-crimes such as writing a short story in her dairy against stoning.
Arash started another hunger strike and demanded release of his wife at least on bail. He continued his hunger strike for more than 70 days. All of these hunger strikes put his life in a serious situation. He suffers from various diseases including Asthma, Ulcerative Colitis, and severe stomach and kidney problems. He himself described his health issues in a letter from prison: “due to being denied of timely medical treatment, my health status has deteriorated so much that I started suffering such complications like low blood pressure, rectal bleeding, breathing problems, irregular heartbeat and frequent nausea only a few days after I started the hunger strike.”
He also explained why he chose this decision: “What we’re facing today is a pervasive and systematic oppression, with the scars of its whippings sitting on the back of Iranian people. Where justice is missing, it will be a crime to defend your right. And in a land where freedom is chained, execution, exile and imprisonment will be taken for granted. Golrokh and I are no exceptions to this reality… where people sacrifice their lives on the streets to realize their society’s civil liberties, protest and strike could no longer be contained within individual and group boundaries, and seeking freedom requires a more elevated path.”
In August 2018, he was diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma, a malignant bone cancer, and doctors recommended that he must be immediately admitted to a cancer Institute and to undergo surgery. Despite his critical situation and his severe pains, authorities delayed his treatments until September and then removed him from hospital just three days after his surgery, although doctors advised against it and said that he should stay in hospital for at least 25 days. Doctors warned that without proper medical treatments and chemotherapy, the cancer will spread more in his body.