In Protest, Nasrin Sotoudeh and Azita Rafizadeh Refuse to have Phone Calls in Prison

Starting Sunday January 6th, 2019, Nasrin Sotoudeh, lawyer, and Azita Rafizadeh, a detained Baha’i prisoner, in protest, stopped phone calls to communicate with their families to protest Evin Prison Women’s Ward family telephone call constraints.

The two detainees at the Evin Prison Women’s Ward, announced that they will continue to protest and refuse to make phone calls outside until these restrictions are lifted.

According to the Human Rights Watch, women prisoners in the Evin Prison were allowed only three calls a week to their families for 20 minutes until recently, but now the time is reduced to 10 minutes. The times they can make these calls are also limited.

At the same time as these restrictions for female prisoners, prisoners in Evin Prison Mens’ Wards can make calls every day from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

Prison authorities have used prison restrictions as a means of putting pressure on prisoners of conscience over the past few years. In addition, prohibiting prisoners from visitation creates difficult prison conditions for prisoners of conscience.

These conditions are harder for prisoners with young children. Nasrin Sotoudeh has two children, 18 and 12 years old, and Azita Rafizadeh has a 9-year-old boy. Ms. Rafizadeh’s husband is also imprisoned and sentenced to five years in prison.

Two other female prisoners, Narges Mohammadi and Nazanin Zaghari, have already announced a hunger strike for three days from January 14 to January 16, in protest of the lack of medical treatment.

Azita Rafizadeh is a Baha’i citizen and a teacher at the Baha’i Higher Education Institution who was arrested along with Paiman Koshkbaie on October 25th, 2015. They were tried in Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court under the chairmanship of Judge Moghiseh for “membership in the illegal organization and group of Baha’is aimed at country security through illegal activities at the Bihe Educational Institute. ” Ms. Rafizadeh was sentenced to four years imprisonment and her husband sentenced to five.

Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested at her home on September 4th, 2010. She is currently serving her five years imprisonment, which was issued while she was not presented at the court. She has several other cases in the court. During her arrest, Ms. Sotoudeh went on a hunger strike twice in protest of the situation of Farhad Maysami, a prisoner of conscience.

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