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Politics

No Charge, No Lawyer And Still In Jail: Two Iranians In The Black Holes Of Iran’s Repressive System

November 11, 2022
3 min read
Sara Shamsaei, 32, has been jailed and denied a lawyer for more than 45 days. The charges against her are unknown.
Sara Shamsaei, 32, has been jailed and denied a lawyer for more than 45 days. The charges against her are unknown.
Kianoosh Changlavaei, 36, was arrested after sheltered a wounded protester. There is no information about his whereabouts.
Kianoosh Changlavaei, 36, was arrested after sheltered a wounded protester. There is no information about his whereabouts.

Fifty-five days have passed since a 22-year-old Iranian woman died in the custody of Tehran’s morality police, sparking the biggest and longest anti-government protest movement the Islamic Republic has ever witnessed.

More than 14,000 people have been arrested so far since the unrest began in mid-September, according to human rights activists. Some of them have been released on bail, but thousands remain in detention centers.

This is the story of two Iranian citizens who are being kept being bars under unknown charges.

Kianoosh Changlavaei, daily wage laborer

Intelligence officers of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on November 8 arrested Changlavaei for helping a man who was shot and wounded by security forces in the city of Mahshahr, southern Khuzestan province, according to IranWire information.

"A protester was shot in Mahshahr. Kianoosh sheltered him in his house for a few days. Many people who were injured during the protests did not go to hospitals fearing arrest. After learning about this incident, IRGC intelligence agents arrested him," a source said.

There is no information available about the whereabouts of the 36-year-old daily wage laborer and the injured person he has helped.

Sara Shamsaei, painter

Shamsaei, 32, has been denied a lawyer for more than 45 days.

On October 6, security forces raided her home in Tehran and took her into custody, a source close to the family told IranWire. Her electronic devices were also confiscated.

"A few days later, Sara informed her family in a short phone call that she was in [Tehran’s] Evin prison Ward 209,"which is under the supervision of the Ministry of Intelligence. Narges Mohammadi and other political prisoners have reported shocking stories there about torture practices in solitary confinement and the appalling conditions in the cells.

The source said Sara used to post pictures of her paintings on Instagram: "Sara's page had several thousand followers, but it has been inaccessible since her arrest. To cover her living expenses, Sara also did graphic work and cooperated with various companies in Tehran."

Another person who knows Sara told IranWire that she is suffering from diabetes.

"She has to inject herself insulin every day and take a lot of pills. Despite her severe diabetes, Sara was kept in solitary confinement in Evin for several days. We don't know exactly how many days she was in solitary confinement, but now she is no longer there," the source said.

"They interrogated her mother and pressured her not to publish information about her daughter. They told the mother that if she keeps silent, Sara will be released soon. But 45 days after her arrest, she is still in prison and her family is under pressure from security agencies.”

Despite suffering from diabetes, Sara went on a three-day hunger strike to protest against her prison conditions, IranWire has learned. She started eating again when she was allowed to call her friends.

"Her family has hired a lawyer to defend her, but the investigators have not allowed the lawyer to take over the case yet. We do not know what the accusations are. We don't even know whether the charges [against Sara] have been filed," the source said.

According to a source close to Sara, the family has not received any news about her since her last call on November 8.

"Sara's last phone call was cut off after a few seconds. She said that her trial will be held this week and after the trial, she will be free to go on bail," a source said.

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