Three days before the September 16 anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, police officers arrested Armita Pavir, a final-year student at Tabriz Madani University's microbiology department, on September 13.
The officers had a warrant related to an unresolved financial case in which Pavir was allegedly involved.
However, sources told IranWire that Pavir had been in the custody of the Tabriz Intelligence Department from the beginning, for interrogation and in an effort to obtain a forced (and televised) confession from her that would implicate herself and her friends.
Pavir, a student activist who was detained by Iranian authorities during the Woman, Life, Freedom protests in Tabriz, started a hunger strike on October 17, in protest against these coercive measures.
Information obtained by IranWire indicates that her health is deteriorating, and if the hunger strike persists, her life may be in jeopardy.
Pavir, 29, is a final-year student who has faced disruptions to her education altering being suspended then banned university because of her student activism.
She was first detained on October 31 last year. On November 9, the country's student union councils reported that, although it had been announced that this young woman had been transferred to Tabriz prison, when her family and relatives visited the prison, authorities claimed no such individual was in their custody.
Later, it was revealed that prison authorities had falsely conveyed this information to the families of several women arrested during nationwide protests in Tabriz, likely as an intimidation tactic.
Pavir was eventually released from Tabriz prison on December 8 on bail. In February, she was contacted to sign a commitment letter as part of a widespread “amnesty” offered to detained protesters by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
The student also posted on her social media account, saying, "I went to court, and they asked me to admit guilt, write a statement of remorse, and a commitment letter. According to the [amnesty] directive, they promised to close my case. I refused to accept the pardon, and today or tomorrow, my final sentence will be announced."
However, according to IranWire's source, Pavir’s case remains unresolved, with no formal sentence issued.
The source also shed light on the charges against her, citing them "as the usual clichéd allegations: disturbing public order and propaganda activities against the system, stemming from her online activities."
When Pavir was arrested again, this time under the guise of an unresolved financial case, her ordeal took another disturbing turn.
Information obtained by IranWire reveals that Armita spent several hours in detention and faced further rounds of questioning in June.
A well-informed source who spoke to IranWire explained that this arrest was part of an ongoing case against her.
Security agents had taken possession of her mobile phone and electronic devices and tried to force her to sign a letter of remorse. Pavir refused to sign and, on the contrary, protested via her Telegram channel.
Previously, in a tweet protesting against the pressure and summons from her interrogators to secure a commitment, she wrote, "I will not accept amnesty, express remorse, and write a commitment letter [in exchange] for freedom."
Information obtained by IranWire indicates that the Tabriz Intelligence Department is using the claims of financial impropriety as a way to minimize the consequences of arresting the student activist.
In 2019, according to a source who spoke with IranWire, Pavir had signed a contract with the Madani University canteen to operate with some friends a coffee shop or similar venture. The aim was to cover a portion of their living and educational expenses. Pavir and her partners were to pay various fees to the university in exchange.
However, a few months after the contract was signed, the outbreak of the coronavirus in Iran resulted in the closure of the university with the implementation of quarantine measures.
With the university's closure, Pavir and her friends found themselves unable to fulfil their financial obligations to the university.
The university refused to cancel the contract. Subsequently, after a garnishment order was issued for the guarantee checks, which, according to IranWire's source, Pavir and her relatives believe was instigated by the Tabriz Intelligence Department, she was compelled to pay the fees.
However, on September 13, authorities entered the student activist's house, arresting her and detaining her under a warrant related to the same unresolved financial case, which remained open despite the fulfilment of the guarantee payment. Pavir has been behind bars since that arrest.
The source said: "While it's true that she is in the financial prisoners' ward, intelligence agents arrive daily with cameras, pressuring her to confess on camera. They demand that she express remorse for her actions, claim she was deceived by enemy groups, and confess, promising her release in return."
The source, whose identity remains anonymous for security reasons, further said that "Armita's condition is deteriorating rapidly, and as someone who doesn't easily relinquish her convictions and principles, her fate remains uncertain."
The gravity of her situation has deepened, as her hunger strike, which she started last week, has resulted in her being denied visitation rights. Her family is profoundly concerned about her well-being and her longer-term fate hangs in the balance.
Pavir, as described by her friends, possesses a deep passion for art and writing. She has a Telegram channel which, despite not having a large number of followers, she uses as a platform to express her emotions, and experiences, and to resist the discriminatory laws in Iran.
On this channel, she declared that on the day of her arrest in November, she was wearing a T-shirt with the message: "It is better to die standing than to live on your knees."
In another post, she shared a video of herself working with her father in a jewelry workshop, alongside which she wrote: "I told my interrogators that if I am not released by my birthday, I will have my birthday and my death day on the same date," referring to the possibility of taking her own life. "But I am not begging anyone for freedom.”