Iran: Sentencing and ongoing arbitrary detention of Mr. Farhad Mayssami

Urgent Appeal
en fa

New information
IRN 005 / 1118 / OBS 138.1
Sentencing /
Arbitrary detention
January 25, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Iran.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) about the sentencing and ongoing arbitrary detention of Mr. Farhad Mayssami (a.k.a Meysami), a medical doctor who has campaigned for women’s rights, including supporting a campaign against the imposition of the hijab on women and girls, and defending the right of women to choose their own clothing.

According to the information received, on January 22, 2019, Mr. Mayssami’s lawyer was notified that Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran sentenced his client to six years of imprisonment - five years for “gathering and collusion with intent to commit crimes against national security” (Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code) and one year for “spreading propaganda against the system” (Article 500 of the Islamic Penal Code). He was also banned from “membership in social and political groups and parties, undertaking activities in cyberspace, the media and the press” and from travelling abroad for two years. Mr. Mayssami will appeal the court’s decision.

Mr. Mayssami has been arbitrarily detained since July 31, 2018 in Tehran’s Evin prison, where he ended a five-month hunger strike on December 23, 2018 (see background information).

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern regarding Mr. Farhad Mayssami’s physical integrity and psychological well-being and condemns his sentencing and continuing arbitrary detention, which seem only aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rights activities.

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

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. He was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence-run Ward 209 within Tehran’s Evin prison. A friend of the prominent human rights lawyer 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 was detained on 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 denied access to a lawyer of his choosing, namely Mr. Arash Kaykhosravi (who was later arrested in front of the Parliament on August 18, 2018) [1].

On August 1, Mr. Mayssami started a hunger strike to protest against his detention and called for the unconditional release of fellow human rights defenders Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh [2] and Mr. Reza Khandan [3]. He was placed in solitary confinement for 20 days before being transferred to a dormitory ward in Section 4 of Evin prison. His health rapidly deteriorated and he lost 34 kg.

On September 26, 2018, he was forcibly transferred to the Evin prison clinic, and subsequently placed in solitary confinement and administered intravenous fluids against his will. Following Mr. Reza Khandan’s release on bail on December 23, 2018, Mr. Farhad Mayssami ended his hunger strike.

On November 29, 2018, five United Nations Special Procedures’ mandate holders 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 [4] .

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Iran asking them to:

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

ii. 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 in the country;

iii. 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;

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.


• Leader of the Islamic Republic, H.E. Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, Fax: + 98 21 441 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 Javad Larijani, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email:
• H.E. Mr. Javad Amin-Mansour, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email:
• H.E. Mr. Peiman Seadat, Ambassador, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Iran in your respective countries.


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