Atena Daemi is a civil liberties, human rights and children's rights activist. She was initially sentenced to prison in 2006 on charges related to distributing anti-death penalty leaflets and criticizing Iran's execution record on Facebook and Twitter.
In September 2019, Ms Daemi had received further charges related to writing an open letter from prison condemning the executions of 3 Kurdish political prisoners in September 2018.
In February 2020, Ms Daemi's was sentenced to a further 2 additional years and 74 lashes for the charge of "disturbing order" in Evin prison as she chanted anti-regime slogans. The prosecutors said that on 11th February 2020, the anniversary of the 1979 revolution that was hijacked by Khomeini, Ms Daemi had chanted anti-government slogans - a charge Ms Daemi denies.
After hearing her sentence, bravely and resiliently Ms Daemi stated: “I should have been released today after almost five years behind bars, but everyone knows that as long as the Islamic Republic exists, Iran is a prison everywhere.”
Read the full text of Atena Daemi's statement sent out of Evin prison below:
"I was due to be released today after almost five years behind bars. But everyone knows that as long as the Islamic Republic exists, Iran is a prison everywhere. But I am free, so much that they keep thinking they have to imprison me with a new sentence. These sentences sound ridiculous to me, even the lashes!
I mourned for the people who were killed in the November 2019 uprising, then they accused me of dancing in the month of Muharram!
Yes, I mourned for the innocent people oppressed in our time and I accept the flogging sentence for it.
Good for the man who will strike the lashes. There is a proverb that says, “That who hits once, would receive two hits in return.”
They have been flogging people for a lifetime. These lashes are nothing compared to the numerous bullets which have pierced the hearts and heads of our people for 40 years.
I am willing to sacrifice for the families who have lost their loved ones, and those whose blood has been spilt.
These sham trials and the verdicts they have issued against me are so ridiculous that I don’t even think about them and I won’t appeal. Let them have more time to fabricate more cases against me.
I am free today because being free does not necessarily mean that you should be on the other side of the bars. Every new sentence affirms that I am free. And I will stand to the end and until I am alive.
Atena Daemi – Evin Prison – July 2020