The Iranian regime has transferred Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, teacher and political prisoner in Karaj Central Prison, to solitary confinement for chanting anti-government slogans.
On Monday, as Tehran marked the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, Mehdi Farahi Shandiz chanted slogans to protest executions and brutal tortures carried out by the Iranian regime since it seized power. Prison authorities
Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, 57, was sentenced to nine years in prison for three separate charges of “insulting the supreme leader,” six years of which were for charges brought against him while he was in prison.
The labor activist, who worked as a private high school tutor, was first arrested at a gathering on International Labor Day on May 1, 2009 at Laleh Park in Tehran. He was released nine months later after spending most of his detention in solitary confinement in the Intelligence Ministry’s Ward 209 at Evin Prison.
He was arrested again in June 2010 and charged with “insulting the supreme leader.”
during a month-long detention period in the Kahrizak detainment facility in southern Tehran, Farahi Shandiz was severely tortured and assaulted,” according to reports. He was released on bail two months later.
In May 2011, Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced him to three years in prison. Farahi Shandiz began his sentence in January 2012 and has been in prison ever since.
The first time Farahi Shandiz was charged with “insulting the supreme leader” (June 2010) was due to frustration from repeated failed attempts to retrieve his personal belongings, which had been confiscated after he was detained at a labor rally on May 1, 2009.
He was tired and angry so he shouted ‘death to Khamenei’ and then the guards at the Revolutionary Court arrested him.
During the first trial held in May 2011, Judge [Mohammad] Moghisseh summoned three guards from the Revolutionary Court, who testified that Mehdi had shouted ‘death to Khamenei,’ and for that he was sentenced to three years in prison.
When Mehdi was transferred from Evin Prison’s Ward 350 to Ward 8, the guards used various excuses to send him to solitary confinement and beat him up.
During these beatings, Mehdi again shouted ‘death to Khamenei,’ so they reported him and opened two more cases against him.
One of the two additional charges against Farahi Shandiz of “insulting the supreme leader” was approved by Judge Abolqasem Salavati, who sentenced him to three more years in prison. The name of the trial judge who sentenced him to an additional three years in prison for the third charge is not known.
Farahi Shandiz sent a message on the occasion of Iran’s National Student’s Day in December 2018, in which he encouraged his compatriots to keep the flame of protests and uprisings alit.
“Presently, under the evil shadow of the religious dictatorship, it is the students who are uniting with the unprivileged workers of our country by chanting, ‘We are the children of workers, we will stand by their side,’” Farahi Shandiz wrote in his letter. “The religious dictatorship has no other solution than to arrest and torture workers who have taken to the streets to reclaim their most basic rights.”
Farahi Shandiz expressed his support for the students who have joined the protests of workers of Haft Tapeh and Ahvaz Steel Company to help them in obtaining their overdue wages and restore their trampled rights. “This is a new chapter in creating a society that thrives in freedom and love,” Farahi Shandiz wrote.
“I am proud of these students. I encourage you to stay true to the principles of freedom and strive to establish a society based on freedom of thought and expression. Don’t let the university, the holy bulwark of freedom, be occupied by tyrants,” Farahi Shandiz said.