Iranian Activist Fatemeh Sepehri Back In Prison After Heart Surgery Earlier This Month

Source: RFE/RL’s Radio Farda

Iranian activist Fatemeh Sepehri (file photo)

Iranian activist Fatemeh Sepehri, an outspoken critic of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who was on medical leave from prison, was rearrested at her residence and taken back to prison, her brother said.

“Should any harm befall my sister or brothers, the responsibility lies squarely with [Iran’s Supreme Leader] Ali Khamenei,” Asghar Sepehri, Fatemeh’s brother, said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on October 19.

Two of Sepehri’s brothers are also currently in custody.

Prior to Sepehri’s rearrest, her brother noted that officials from the Islamic Revolutionary Court had informed her that her medical leave had concluded and she was to present herself back at the prison to continue serving her 18-year sentence for propaganda activities against the Islamic Republic, cooperation with hostile governments, insulting the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and gathering and conspiring against national security.

Just before she was taken back into custody, Sepehri reiterated her decision to not willingly return to prison, saying that with very little recovery time following open-heart surgery earlier this month, being put back behind bars was “an affront by the Islamic republic.”

She added in a video message that having been home for barely 24 hours after her release from hospital, “should any adversity come my way, Ali Khamenei and his subordinates must provide answers.”

Sepehri also made an audio message as she was being apprehended, saying “agents of the Islamic republic are at my door. I’m preparing to accompany them, hoping for a free Iran in the near future.”

This recent detention followed her brief return home after medical treatments at Qaem Hospital in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad. Sepehri, having undergone open-heart surgery earlier this month, was previously incarcerated but had been released temporarily on medical grounds.

In a separate incident at the hospital, she condemned Hamas’s aggression towards Israel in a video statement, proclaiming, “The Iranian people stand in solidarity with Israel, while the Islamic regime misappropriates public funds for militaristic endeavors.”

Faremeh Sepehri, known for her bold stance, is among those who have publicly called for the resignation of the Islamic Republic’s leader. Her activism led to her arrest last year during nationwide protests.

She and the other activists have also called for a new political system within the framework of a new constitution that would secure dignity and equal rights for women.

Criticism of Khamenei, who has the last say on almost every decision in Iran, is considered a red line in Iran, and his critics often land in prison, where political prisoners are routinely held in solitary confinement and subjected to various forms of torture.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL’s Radio Farda