Sunday, October 17, 2021

What led to Mahdieh’s arrest and illegal imprisonment by the Iranian authorities?

 

Golroo was born on August 24,1985. She achieved the 500th rank in the mathematics/physics university entrance exam and was accepted in the field of industrial economics at Allameh Tabatabai University. She started out as a member then held the position of secretary and also deputy secretary in the Islamic Association of the Economics Department. In 2007, she became a member of the Tahkim Vahdat office in Tehran (a reputable student alumni organization).

In 2006, Mahdieh Golroo was banned from continuing her post-secondary education (the ban extended until 2009) while she was only one semester shy from graduating university. The ban came after she had publicly criticized Ahmadinejad’s government in summits and student assemblies and through published journal pieces. She had also made efforts to prevent the dissolution of the Islamic Association of Allameh Tabatabai University by its appointed president Hojat-al-Islam Shariati. Mahdieh Golroo has missed a record of eight university terms due to the ban.

In November 2009, in protest to being illegally denied access to higher education, Mahdieh Golroo and other Allameh Tabatabai University students, including Majid Dorri, launched an indefinite peaceful protest at the university that led to their temporary arrests. While jailed they launched hunger strikes which lasted until their release on December 1, 2009, one week after their illegal arrests.

A day before her second arrest in 2009, Mahdieh Golroo was sentenced to one year suspended imprisonment. She is known as one of the bravest student activists for her critical and informative speeches given at university gatherings, including her speech at Allameh Tabatabai University on October 30, 2007 and her speech at the University of Tehran on December 9, 2007 and December 8, 2007 (at this gathering she spoke out against executions and criticized Iranian authorities and the government’s economic policies).

Mahdieh Golroo and other students denied access to post-secondary education founded a group called the Right to Education Council.

Prior to the 2009 Iranian Presidential election, the student activists held gatherings in front of the Ministry of Science and IRIB and played a significant role in revealing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s lies, like when he denied the existence of starred students (students deprived of their educational rights) in Iran.

Following the 2009 Iranian Presidential election, the vast majority of the members of this council were arrested and some of them, including Zia Nabavi (10 years imprisonment in exile) and Majid Dorri (6 years imprisonment in exile) were sentenced to long-term imprisonments. After her friends from the council were arrested, Mahdieh Golroo did her best to reveal the disdainful and predetermined plot of presenting the council as connected to the Mujahedin-e Khalgh Organization and persistently demanded the release of her imprisoned friends. On December 2, 2009, she was arrested along with her husband Vahid Lalipour, who had no political activities and had been arrested merely to place psychological pressure eon Mahdieh Golroo.

Following months of solitary confinement and lengthy interrogations, she was sentenced to two years and four months in prison. The sentence was reduced to two years in the Appeals Court.

The term of her imprisonment has been quite tumultuous. Because of a statement she published from inside the prison on the occasion of December 7, 2010, she and Majid Tavakoli and Bahareh Hedayat were sentenced to another six months in prison. She was denied cabin visits for numerous months. Due to her days of hunger strike in ward 209 of Evin prison, in order to gain her minimum rights as a prisoner, she developed intestinal infection.

Vahid Lalipour, in spite of having no political activity, was sentenced to two years in prison, but the sentence was reduced to one year in prison and one year suspended imprisonment. Vahid Lalipour was arrested by Iranian authorities and taken to prison to serve his sentence on August 23, the day of his wedding anniversary with his wife.

After enduring 592 days imprisonment, Mahdieh Golroo was granted a three-day furlough on July 16th. Although she had informed the Prosecutor’s office that she would return to prison on July 24th, security forces attacked her home on the eve of her scheduled return and took her away.

Presently, Mahdieh Golroo is held in a shed in Evin prison along with other female political prisoners. Their space has no telephones or any other facilities. The space for fresh air is only 25 square meters and it is also the same area where the laundry is hung and the garbage is gathered. The fresh air area has high walls and the roof is covered with barbed wires.

Mahdieh Golroo’s own words:

“My school friends, if in 1953 three students were killed, today tens of students are in the prisons. Although these days the price we pay for speaking out (against the Iranian regime) is very high, but at the cost of Evin prison turning into a university, we must protect the university, the last stronghold of freedom. And remember that we will be whispering “Yare Dabestani” with you on Student Day (December 7th).

 

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