Maryam Monfared - Human Rights Activist
Maryam Akbari Monfared, born in December 19, 1975, is an Iranian human rights activist and political prisoner. She is a mother of three young girls and has been in prison since 2009.
Maryam’s three brothers and one sister were executed by the Iranian regime in the 1980s. Two of them were among the victims of the 1988 massacre of the political prisoners due to their affiliations with Iran’s pro-democracy organization, People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI).
More than 30,000 political prisoners, most of them PMOI members and supporters, were executed secretly within a couple of months. This massacre was issued under an Islamic fatwa by the regime’s founder Ruhollah Khomeini.
Maryam Akbari Monfared was arrested in her residence by security forces in late December 2009 during nationwide protests. Her youngest daughter was only a toddler at that time. For five months, her whereabouts were unknown and the regime denied any information to her family. In early 2010, the revolutionary court headed by Abolghasem Salavati, sentenced her to 15 years imprisonment. She was charged with “enmity against god” through allegedly being a member of the PMOI. The only evidence that the prosecutor presented during the trail was her normal phone calls with her relatives who lived abroad.
Although in prison, she is still courageously fighting against injustice and continues to campaign for human rights. In 2016, she filed a formal complaint against the regime for extrajudicial executions of her siblings in summer of 1988. In her complaint she wrote: "My brother Abdolreza and my sister Roqieh were executed on an unknown date during the summer of 1988. They were both tried by the Revolutionary Court and sentenced to prison terms. They were deprived of their right to have a lawyer to represent them. Abdolreza was arrested when he was only 17 for selling Mojahed publication (affiliated to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran – PMOI). He was sentenced to three years imprisonment in 1980, but the authorities refused to release him after he completed his prison term until he was finally executed in 1988".
As a result of her complaint, she has been threatened with an extended prison sentence and denied medical care. Due to her inhumane imprisonment situation, she contracted rheumatoid arthritis and suffers from severe pains and cannot sleep at night. The prison guards at the notorious Evin prison, where she is detained, have denied her access to medical care in necessary out-of-prison medical facilities.
During her imprisonment, the judiciary system has denied her any furlough from prison. In February 2020, the warden of Evin prison announced new restrictions on Ms Monfared which deprived her of family visits for three weeks. In June 10, 2020, Ms Monfared was summoned to the Evin prison’s courthouse where she was informed that the prosecution office has filed a new case against her. It is said that Ms Monfared is charged with chanting anti-regime slogans on the night of February 11, 2020, the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution.