Imprisoned children’s rights activist Omid Alishenas has been refused bail while waiting for the Appeals Court to hear his case.
“Seven months have passed since Omid was sentenced in the preliminary court but the Appeals Court has not yet convened,” Omid Alishenas’s mother said. We have made several requests to release him on bail until the final verdict but they have not agreed. On one occasion I was told that I must provide [a property deed as collateral, valued at] 10 billion rials (about $335,000) to bail him out and I said we don’t have any property worth that much. In any case the offer was later rescinded.”
Simin Eyvazzadeh told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that her son, who has been sentenced to ten years in prison, was innocent and expressed hope that the Appeal Court would acquit him. In an earlier interview with the Campaign, Eyvazzadeh stated that her son had visited the families of several political prisoners and those who had been executed, and she believed he had been arrested because of these activities.
Agents of the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Organization arrested Alishenas, 32, a civil engineer who is a children’s rights and civil activist, at his home on September 4, 2014. He was held in the Revolutionary Guards’ Ward 2-A at Evin Prison for nearly nine months under “temporary detention” orders, before being transferred to Evin Prison’s Ward 8. He was tried on March 5, 2015, in Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, and on May 13 Judge Moghisseh issued his verdict: 10 years in prison for “colluding against national security” and “insulting the Supreme Leader.”
“My son has been accused of insulting the Supreme Leader because of the jokes found on his mobile phone. But Omid did not do anything insulting. These jokes can be found on half the phones in the country,” Alishenas’s mother said.
She added that last week Mr. Ghomi, a court counselor who works for Judge Zargar of Branch 36 of the Appeal Court, suggested that her son may be able to be released on bail on payment of one billion rials (about $33,500) for every year of his sentence. But it emerged that Judge Zargar was opposed to bail and told her to wait until the Appeals Court convenes “in one or two weeks.”
“We really cannot be sure if the Appeals Court will convene in a couple of weeks. Omid is waiting inside prison and we are waiting outside. It’s a very depressing situation,” Eyvazzadeh added.
Omid Alishenas is being held in Evin Prison’s Ward 8 until his appearance in front of the Appeals Court.