Tehran University Student Activist Soha Mortezaei went on hunger strike to protest “injustice and discrimination.”
In a telephone call to her family, Soha Mortezaei explained the injustice concerns in her case and in a letter to the Prosecutor’s Office in Evin Prison she wrote:
“When a prisoner like me cannot secure bail, you have to release me on a pledge. What I am seeing now is the injustice and discrimination that I have been imprisoned for. Since I cannot afford the bail, I have to stay in prison. In protest of this unfair process, I will go on hunger strike until the assignment is made.”
The student activist was arrested on November 17, 2019 after she launched a sit-in at the university to protest being denied enrollment in a PhD program because she is an activist.
Soha Mortezaei was in Tehran University’s Fatemiyeh Dormitory on November 17, when she received a text message to go to the front gate. There, she was brutalized and abducted along with two other students and taken away.
Soha Mortezaei has a masters of political sciences. She won admission to the doctorate level as the 10th ranking student, but the Intelligence Ministry and the university’s intelligence department prevented her from continuing her education, something that provoked her to hold a solo sit-in outside Tehran University’s library for 21 days.
Having failed to stop Soha from holding her strike, Tehran University’s intelligence department summoned her family to the university in October 2019, and told them to sign a paper indicating their consent to transfer Soha Mortezaei to a mental hospital where she could receive “electric shock treatment” to come to her senses, otherwise they would add 2.5 years to her 6-year prison term.
Soha Mortezaei had been arrested during the December 2017-January 2018 uprising along with a number of other students. In September 2018, Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh of Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced Mortezaei to six years in prison and banned her from political activities for two years. She was awaiting a decision on her appeal before being re-arrested.