Former political prisoner and labor activist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh was arrested by security forces around Kermanshah (western Iran) and taken to an unknown location on Friday, August 17, 2018.
According to a source close to Behnam Ebrahimzadeh’s family, he was detained while en route to assist survivors of the Kermanshah earthquake that claimed thousands of casualties in November 2017.
After several days of persistent inquiry, his family learned of his detention, but remain in suspense as to the reason for his arrest.
Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, born in 1977 in Oshnavieh, West Azerbaijan province, has been detained several times since 2008. On June 12, 2010, he was arrested and interrogated in solitary confinement for four months, and later transferred to Ward 350 of Evin prison. At the conclusion of a brief trial without a defense lawyer, Judge Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced Mr. Ebrahimzadeh to twenty years in prison. The sentence was later reduced to 5 years in an appeals court.
Over the course of his five-year sentence in Evin Prison, Ebrahimzadeh endured multiple beatings and transfers to solitary confinement. His detention at Evin coincided with the 2014 incident known as “Black Thursday” in which plainclothes agents and Evin Prison staff coordinated a group assault on Ward 350 inmates. Later, he was illegally exiled to Rajaei Shahr Prison in Karaj, where he was repeatedly harassed and shifted among wards.
Near the end of his five-year sentence, Ebrahimzadeh faced new charges of anti-regime collusion and propaganda, allegedly committed while he was in prison. He contested the charges in the Tehran Appeals Court. On July 31, 2016, the new sentence of nine and a half years imprisonment was first reduced to seven years and ten months, and then to 15 days with a fine of approximately $100 USD (4,500,000 Rials).
Authorities had also accused Behnam Ebrahimzadeh of “violating a detention order” and “using satellite equipment and game cards” during his time in Evin.
More recently, on September 24, 2017, Ebrahimzadeh was released from a ten-day detainment after being arrested along with several others in front of Rajaei Shahr Prison, where they were rallying in a demonstration of solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike.