Exclusive: Maryam Akbari Monfared was imprisoned for supporting the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran and hasn’t seen her children since
A mother jailed in Iran for 13 years has shared a letter from inside her “hell-like” prison.
Maryam Akbari Monfared was detained in 2009 on the charge of being a supporter of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.
Her three brothers and one sister were killed by the Iranian regime, and she has been separated from her three daughters since the night she was taken away.
Charities including Amnesty International and the Center for Human Rights in Iran have long called for her release but to no avail.
The mother-of-three has now shared the letter as she enters her fourteenth year of incarceration, while celebrating the protests that have gripped Iran in her absence.
“As of December 29, 2022, thirteen years have passed since I was separated from my 4-year-old Sarah and my two 12-year-old daughters on that winter midnight,” she writes.
“Without giving me a chance to say goodbye to my loved ones, they took me to Evin prison to give some explanations and made the ridiculous promise that ‘you will return to your children in the morning’.
“This is not a 4,000-page story, but the pure reality of a life under the domination of fascists who imposed it on us while we refused to give in.
“On this side of the bars, in the dark desert of torture and oppression, as far as one can see – even where one cannot see- there is just vileness and brutality.”
Amnesty has repeatedly called for the 47 year-old’s release, describing her as a “prisoner of conscience” being held in “inhumane” conditions.
The Centre for Human Rights in Iran described the charges against her as “baseless” when it called for an end to her “cruel and unlawful” imprisonment in 2019.
In the last year, there has been a wave of protests against the Iran government particularly following the death of 22 year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the morality police.
In her letter, Ms Monfared says she stands “shoulder to shoulder” with the families of loved ones who have died.
“To my daughters and sons, who are bravely on the streets… I say: if you are arrested, do not trust the interrogators even an iota.
“To the grieving families… I say that I share in their grief too. I hold their hands from here and stand shoulder to shoulder with them, stronger than before, for justice.
“With the news of every protest and every uprising, and with the sparks of this rebellious flame, the hearts of women whose only hope of freedom is to break these iron gates are filled with hope.”