Who is political prisoner Soheil Arabi?
Name and Surname: Soheil Arabi
Place of Birth: Tehran
Date of Birth: August 21, 1985
Charges: Insulting the Prophet, insulting Shiite Imams, insulting Khamanei, Ahmad Jannati and Gholamali Haddad-Adel on social networks.
Sentence: seven and a half years in prison, two years of religious research to prove that he has repented so that he would be saved from the gallows.
Last detention date: Mid-fall of 2013
Prisons: Evin Prison, the Great Tehran Prison, Rajaee-Shahr Prison
Political prisoner, Soheil Arabi, was born in 1985. He is married and has a daughter. He ran a photo atelia along with his wife. He was a blogger and was the admin of eight pages on Facebook.
Soheil Arabi was arrested in mid-fall of 2013 along with his wife, Nastaran Naimi and was confined for a while at ward 350 of Evin Prison.
He is charged with “Insulting the Prophet, insulting Shiite Imams, insulting Khamanei, Ahmad Jannati and Gholamali Haddad-Adel on social networks.” Following the charges, he was sentenced to death and the decree was upheld by the Supreme Court in late fall of 2014.
At the Court of Appeal, he was sentenced to 90 months in prison and two years of religious research to prove his remorse to save him from execution. While serving 7.5 years in prison, he must read a collection of books and represent the result of his research to the court to be saved from execution. In addition to that he was sentenced to paying 500,000 tomans fine and being lashed 30 times for insulting the then dean of Allameh Tabatabaee University, Ahmad Jannati, as well as Gholamali Haddad-Adel on Facebook.
In mid-summer of 2017, Mrs. Nastaran Naimi was arrested, and a sham file was opened for her. The charges are not very clear but one of them is named as “having connections with the media abroad”.
After her arrest, Soheil Arabi, confined at ward 350 of Evin Prison went on hunger strike to protest the arrest of his wife by IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) forces. She was released after eight days but the pressures continued on her, and she was fired from her job.
Again, on January 24, 2018, after political prisoners Miss Atena Daemi and Mrs. Golrokh Iraee were transferred to Varamin’s Qarchak Prison, Mr. Arabi went on hunger strike which continued till March 20, 2018. After this turn of hunger strike, he was beaten and taken to the Great Tehran Prison.
During the January 2018 nationwide uprising, Soheil Arabi sent two messages in support of the protests and said: “We are looking for the downfall (of this regime) and we will not compromise with brutality and oppression.”
In his second message, a voice message, he clearly stated that to reach peace one must fight, “a pen in one hand and a gun in the other, until the end; the overthrow of the rule of mullahs.”
In late spring of 2018, Mr. Arabi was once again tried by Judge Moqiseh. At court he addressed the judge as: “You are just a puppet and soon your time (regime’s time) will be over and then it will be us who sit there to put you all on trial.” Judge Moqiseh sentenced this political prisoner to five years in prison for “blasphemy” and one year in prison for “propagating against the Nezam.” His wife was also sentenced to a 1.5 year in prison.
Mr. Arabi was confined at the Great Tehran Prison under harsh conditions. Once while transferring him to a hospital, he was beaten and his nose broke.
His mother, Mrs. Farangis Mazloomi revealed in her last audio message that “they intend to drive Soheil insane”. For each visit, she has to refer to the prosecutor’s office to get permission.
On September 30, 2018, Soheil Arabi’s lawyer was informed that his client, had been sentenced to three years imprisonment, exile and forced residency in Borazjan by a decree issued by branch No. 26 of the Revolution Court presiding over by Judge Ahmadzadeh. In this new case Mr. Arabi was charged with “communicating with foreign media” and “sending messages out of prison to lead people towards demonstrations and protests (which took place in January of 2018).
Since Saturday, June 15, 2019, after the murder of political prisoners, AliReza Shir-Mohammadi at the Great Tehran Prison, Mr. Arabi started a hunger strike protesting the inappropriate conditions of The Great Tehran Prison, including “violent behavior of the prison’s authorities,” “the spread of the use of various types of narcotics amongst the inmates”, “unsuitable cells”, “compulsory confessions through shockers and batons”, “failure to respect the principle of separation of the crimes,” “lack of primary facilities and sanitation,” “deprivation of medical care,” and “the existence of lice and bedbugs .” He demanded his transfer to Evin Prison. He was transferred to Evin Prison in late July of 2019.
Political prisoner Soheil Arabi was suddenly deported to the Greater Tehran Prison on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, after responding negatively to pressure from the Ministry of Intelligence to express remorse for his statements condemning the killing of innocent people in the streets and in the sky (the downing of the Ukranian Airliner by the IRGC missiles) by Khamenei’s IRGC and plainclothes officers.
On that morning political prisoner Soheil Arabi was summoned from Ward 8 of Evin Prison to be transferred to Ward 4 of this prison. After collecting his belongings, when he got in the car, one of the Ministry of Intelligence agents got in and told him, “You are at a crossroad now. You can come and express regret for the statements you made, on TV, and say that I regret it, or you will be transferred to a worse prison!”
Political prisoner Soheil Arabi, who has been under interrogation in Detention Center 1-A for several days since April 23, 2020, told his interrogator: “I will choose death to continue the struggle.”
Mr. Arabi being in poor physical condition, was transferred to the Great Tehran Prison on April 29, 2020, after a surgery, and spent his post-operative recovery period in a dirty and crowded ward in a situation where he was threatened with infection.
Soheil Arabi was transferred from the Great Tehran Prison to the Rajai-Shahr Prison in Karaj on September 18, 2020.
On October 20, after 33 days in solitary confinement, he called his family to inform them that he had been transferred to the IRGC Intelligence Detention Center, Ward 2A of Evin Prison. He was finally transferred on Sunday, November 8, from this security ward to one of the solitary cells of Rajaee-Shahr Prison in Karaj (aka Suite) after his interrogation was over. He was then transferred to a public ward there on November 16, 2020.