Imprisoned civil rights activist Sepideh Gholian is to stand trial again on Sunday, November 22 in Branch 24 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court.
The young political prisoner, who is currently behind bars in Evin Prison, is due in court to answer a complaint by Ameneh Sadat Zabihpour, a correspondent for Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.
Sepideh Gholian was arrested in 2018 for taking part in a labor protest in support of striking workers at the Haft Tappeh sugarcane factory in Khuzestan. During her 30-day interrogation, she has alleged that Zabihopour was drafted in to prepare and record forced confessions from her and fellow activist Esmail Bakhshi.
Zabihpour, Sepideh Gholian said, had been present in the interrogation room and “to provide us with the text she had already prepared, for reading in front of the camera after hours of physical and mental torture.”
The resultant footage was aired on the IRIB’s 20:30 program in the form of a pseudo-documentary entitled The Burnt Plan. By relying on “confessions” extracted under torture, the program served to incriminate Sepideh and other detained protesters.
In December last year, Sepideh Gholian filed a lawsuit against the IRIB for broadcasting the footage. But the case was closed just hours after it was filed, and in the aftermath Ameneh Sadat Zabihpour filed a counter-claim.
It is this case that Sepideh Gholian is expected to answer on Monday. In June this year, having already spent the best part of a year in a half in Evin and Sepidar Women’s Prison, she began serving a five-year prison sentence on the charges of “assembly and collusion against national security”, after refusing to request a pardon from the Supreme Leader.