Mum stuck in Iran jail for 13 years shares letter from inside 'hell-like' prison

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Maryam Akbari Monfared has been in jail since December of 2009 (Image: Centre for Human Rights in Iran)
Maryam Akbari Monfared has been in jail since December of 2009 (Image: Centre for Human Rights in Iran)

A mum-of-three who was jailed in Iran for 13 years due to her support of an Iranian political-militant organisation has shared a letter from inside her “hell-like” prison.

Maryam Akbari Monfared was put behind bars back in 2009 on the charge of being a supporter of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran.

The People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) is the largest and longest-standing Iranian opposition group, with a five-decade history of battling for freedom and democracy in Iran.

Ms Monfared’s three brothers and one sister were killed by the Iranian regime.

She has been separated by her three daughters since the night she was taken away.

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Amnesty International, among other charities, have long called for Ms Monfared’s release, but to no avail.

Mum stuck in Iran jail for 13 years shares letter from inside 'hell-like' prisonProtests in Iran near Saqez, after 22-year-old Amini died on September 16 following her arrest by the morality police in Tehran (UGC/AFP via Getty Images)

As she enters her 14th year in jail, the mum has shared a letter, while also celebrating the protests that have spread throughout Iran while she has been incarcerated.

In the letter, she wrote of how thirteen years had passed as of December 29, 2022, since she was separated from her 4-year-old Sarah and my two 12-year-old daughters.

She said: “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,” she continued.

Mum stuck in Iran jail for 13 years shares letter from inside 'hell-like' prisonAn Iranian morality police officer talks to a woman in Tehran (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“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 International has repeatedly called for Ms Monfared’s release.

The 37-year-old has been described by the charity as a “prisoner of conscience”, being held in “inhumane” conditions.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Human Rights in Iran described the charges against Ms Monfared as “baseless”.

The centre called for an end to her “cruel and unlawful” imprisonment.

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Mum stuck in Iran jail for 13 years shares letter from inside 'hell-like' prisonIranian demonstrators taking to the streets of the capital Tehran (AFP via Getty Images)

The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by Iran's morality police sparked the biggest uprising in the country in decades.

She was arrested for the improper wear of her hijab and later died in police custody, likely at the hands of police.

The protests saw women burning their headscarves in a defiant act of resistance against the Islamic Republic's strict dress code and those enforcing it and in solidarity with Ms Amini.

Iran's brutal and controversial morality police was scrapped at the beginning of December, after more than two months of protests.

In her letter, Ms Monfared describes how she stands “shoulder to shoulder” with the families of loved ones who have died.

Mum stuck in Iran jail for 13 years shares letter from inside 'hell-like' prisonBritish-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was convicted and held in prison for five years and subsequently convicted of plotting the overthrow of Iran's government (Getty Images)

She addresses her “daughters and sons” who were “bravely on the streets” and urged them not to trust their interrogators ”even an iota”.

“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,” she said.

In March of 2022, British-Iranian mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was released from an Iranian jail last week and allowed to fly home to reunite with her family after six years detained.

She was detained in the Middle East for nearly six years after being arrested and subsequently convicted of plotting the overthrow of Iran's government while taking her daughter to see her family.

She landed in the UK after intense negotiations around a £400million debt Britain owed Iran, that led to their release.

Alice Peacock

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