Tahereh Riahi, the social affairs editor of the state-funded Borna News Agency, who has been detained by the Intelligence Ministry since late December 2016 without access to legal council, pleaded for help in her latest phone call to her family from Evin Prison, an informed source told the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
“Tahereh had a short phone conversation with her mother on January 30 (2017) and said she had been interrogated,” said the source. “She was crying and saying she was feeling terrible and going through very difficult times. We also heard that her left cornea was injured during the interrogation. We even heard she was taken to the hospital for treatment, but we don’t have more information.”
According to a statement issued by Borna on February 2, 2017, the news agency expects that after the end of the investigation and the judicial process, the court will release her on bail.
The source added that Riahi’s family lost loved ones in the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) and “gave blood to defend this country.”
“If the authorities think that someone like her can carry out ‘propaganda against the state,’ then there’s nothing left to say,” said the source. “Unfortunately, Tahereh has not been permitted family visits and the authorities have not accepted her lawyer’s credentials.”
“After Tahereh’s arrest, agents came to her house and carried out a search while filming the operation,” the source told the Campaign. “They refused to answer her mother’s questions (about why they were there) even when she became upset. They took away Tahereh’s computers and some books. They said she was going to be freed in 24 hours, but it has been more than a month.”
“At first, Tahereh’s mother was hopeful because she thought maybe if she kept quiet, her daughter would be freed,” continued the source. “But now she has lost hope… She hasn’t been told about the injury to Tahereh’s eye because she would get more upset,” said the source.
“Her husband (died defending Iran in the Iran-Iraq War); she can’t tolerate what’s happening to her only daughter,” added the source.
Agents of the Intelligence Ministry arrested Riahi on December 27, 2016 at Borna’s main office in Tehran and accused her of “propaganda against the state.” The news agency is a branch of the Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry, which reports directly to President Hassan Rouhani.
According to the source, the authorities had promised to free Riahi on 300 million tomans ($93,000 USD) bail, but extended her detention order for an additional month after the family had already gathered the funds.