Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani

H.E. Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani,

Head of the Judiciary,

Islamic Republic of Iran,

Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567,

Email: [email protected] / [email protected] / [email protected]

Dear Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani,

am William Nicholas Gomes, Human rights defender and Freelance journalist.

I am writing to voice my deep concern over   the continuing arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of Mr. Farhad Mayssami (a.k.a Meysami), a medical doctor who campaigned for women’s rights, including supporting a campaign against the imposition of the hijab on women and girls, and defending women’s rights to choose their own clothing.


According to the information received from the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), since he was forcibly transferred from Tehran’s Evin prison’s Section 4 to the prison’s clinic on September 26, 2018, Mr. Farhad Mayssami has been kept in solitary confinement and administered intravenous fluid against his will. The Observatory recalls that since August 1, Mr. Mayssami has been on a hunger strike to protest against his arbitrary detention and to call for the unconditional release of fellow human rights defenders Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh and Mr. Reza Khandan. His health is rapidly deteriorating and he has lost 34 kg since his arrest.


I express my deepest concern regarding the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Farhad Mayssami and condemns his arbitrary detention, which seems only aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rights activities.


I urge the Iranian authorities to immediately 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.


I further recall that since August 2018 several human rights defenders have been arbitrarily arrested for defending women’s rights, and at least seven human rights lawyers have been judicially harassed and/or arbitrarily detained for taking up cases related to human rights and for representing other human rights lawyers prosecuted for their work.


On November 29, 2018, five United Nations Special Procedures called on Iran to “guarantee the rights of human rights defenders and lawyers who have been jailed for publicly supporting protests against the mandatory wearing of the hijab” and expressed their particular concern over the critical health of Mr. Farhad Mayssami.


Background information:


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


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


Mr. Mayssami was not given access to a lawyer of his choice as the authorities refused to allow Mr. Arash Kaykhosravi to act as his lawyer, before the latter was arrested in front of the Parliament on August 18, 2018. The authorities also refused to allow another lawyer of his choosing, Mr. Mohammad Moqimi, to have access to him.


On August 1, Mr. Mayssami started a hunger strike to protest against his detention. He was kept in solitary confinement for 20 days before being transferred to a dormitory ward in Section 4 of Evin prison.


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


Actions requested:


  • Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Farhad Mayssami and all human rights defenders in Iran;
  • Ensure Mr. Farhad Mayssami an access to adequate medical care;
  • Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Farhad Mayssami and put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against him as well as all human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in the country;
  • Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1, and 12;
  • Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.

Please inform me of any actions that may be taken with regard to the above case.

Yours sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes
Journalist and Human Rights Activist
York, United Kingdom


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