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Urgent Interventions

Continuing arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of Mr. Farhad Mayssami

New information

IRN 005 / 1118 / OBS 138

Arbitrarydetention /


30, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a jointpartnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), hasreceived new information and requests your urgent intervention in the followingsituation in Iran.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of HumanRights in Iran (LDDHI) about the continuing arbitrary detention andill-treatment of Mr. Farhad Mayssami (a.k.a Meysami), a medical doctorwho campaigned for women’s rights, including supporting a campaign against theimposition of the hijab on women and girls, and defending women's rights tochoose their own clothing.

According to the information received, since hewas forcibly transferred from Tehran’s Evin prison’s Section 4 to the prison’sclinic on September 26, 2018, Mr. Farhad Mayssami has been kept in solitaryconfinement and administered intravenous fluid against his will. TheObservatory recalls that since August 1, Mr. Mayssami has been on a hungerstrike to protest against his arbitrary detention and to call for theunconditional release of fellow human rights defenders Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh[1]and Mr. Reza Khandan[2].His health is rapidly deteriorating and he has lost 34 kg since his arrest.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concernregarding the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Farhad Mayssami andcondemns his arbitrary detention, which seems only aimed at punishing him forhis legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory urges the Iranian authorities toimmediately and unconditionally release Mr.Farhad Mayssami as well as to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level,against him and all human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in the country.

The Observatory further recalls that sinceAugust 2018 several human rights defenders have been arbitrarily arrested fordefending women’s rights, and at least seven human rights lawyers have beenjudicially harassed and/or arbitrarily detained for taking up cases relatedto human rights and for representing other human rights lawyers prosecuted fortheir work[3].

On November 29, 2018, five United NationsSpecial Procedures called on Iran to “guarantee the rights of human rightsdefenders and lawyers who have been jailed for publicly supporting protestsagainst the mandatory wearing of the hijab”and expressed their particular concern over the critical health of Mr. FarhadMayssami[4].

Background information[5]:

On July 31, 2018, Mr. Farhad Mayssami wasarrested at his office in Tehran, following an order of the Prosecutor’s OfficeBranch 2 and taken to the Ministry of Intelligence-run Ward 209 within Evinprison. A friend of Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, Mr. Farhad Mayssami was arrestedfor being in possession of copies of two books - “Small Acts of Resistance” bySteve Crawshaw and John Jackson, and a book on human rights translated byMohammad Jafar Pouyandeh, a translator and writer assassinated by Ministry ofIntelligence agents in 1998 – and a number of badges reading “I am opposed toforced hijab”.

He faces charges of “gathering and colludingagainst national security” (Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code), “spreadingpropaganda against the system” (Article 500) and “spreading prostitution”(Article 286).

Mr. Mayssami was not given access to alawyer of his choice as the authorities refused to allow Mr. Arash Kaykhosravito act as his lawyer, before the latter was arrested in front of the Parliamenton August 18, 2018[6].

On August 1, Mr. Mayssami started a hungerstrike to protest against his detention. He was kept in solitary confinementfor 20 days before being transferred to a dormitory ward in Section 4 of Evinprison.

OnSeptember 26, 2018, he was forcibly transferred by force to Evin prison’s clinic.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Iran asking them to:

i.Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr.Farhad Mayssami and all human rights defenders in Iran;

ii.Ensure Mr. Farhad Mayssami an access to adequate medical care;

iii.Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Farhad Mayssami and put an end toall acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against him as well asall human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in the country;

iv.Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on HumanRights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, inparticular its Articles 1, and 12;

v. Ensurein all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms inaccordance with international human rights standards and internationalinstruments ratified by Iran.


• Leader of the Islamic Republic, H.E. Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, Fax: + 9821 441 2030, Email:; Twitter: @khamenei_ir

•President Hassan Rouhani, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 644 54811;Email:; Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir(Persian).

•Head of the Judiciary, H.E. Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, Islamic Republic of Iran,Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email: / /
• Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Islamic Republic of Iran,Fax: +98-21-66743149;

•Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights, Mr. Mohammed JavadLarijani, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email:

•H.E. Mr. Javad Amin-Mansour, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the IslamicRepublic of Iran to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 227330203, Email:
• H.E. Mr. Peiman Seadat, Ambassador, Embassy of Iran in Brussels,Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email:

Pleasealso write to the diplomatic representations of Iran in your respectivecountries.


Paris-Geneva, November 30, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory forthe Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective ofthis programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against humanrights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European UnionHuman Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

[1] See Observatory Press Release, September 21,2018; and Urgent Appeal IRN001 / 0618 / OBS 085, June 15, 2018.

[2] See Observatory Open Letter to PresidentHassan Rouhani, September 28, 2018.

[3] See Observatory Press Release, September 5,2018 and Urgent Appeal IRN 004 / 0918 / OBS 115, September 14, 2018.

[4] See Joint Statement by UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human RightsDefenders; SpecialRapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers; Chair-Rapporteur of the WorkingGroup on Arbitrary Detention; Chair of the Working Group on the issue ofdiscrimination against women in law and in practice; and Special Rapporteur on theSituation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

[5] See Observatory Open Letter to PresidentHassan Rouhani, September 28, 2018.

[6] See Observatory Urgent Appeal IRN 003 / 0818/ OBS 106, August 23, 2018.

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