Iranian political prisoner Atena Daemi has published an open letter from Lakan Prison stating that she will not take part in the presidential elections on Friday, June 18, saying that the forced exile of her and many other female political prisoners was a major factor in this decision.
Atena Daemi wrote: “On the eve of the election comedy, we see that this comedy’s fixed actors and comedians come on the stage in various colors, with multiple names and mottos, but with one goal. That goal is to save and preserve the Islamic Republic regime. They try to deceive public opinion. But most people are aware that each ballot, blank or filled, means yes to the repeat of history and the inhuman policies of this regime’s 42-year rule. The 4-year presidential terms and their elections are absurd to show people’s turnout and role in politics… But side by the side of my people, I say NO to this sham election!”
Daemi, 32, finished serving her sentence in July 2020, but she is denied release because of new cases brought against her by the Intelligence Ministry and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), which meant that she was sentenced to five more years and 74 lashes.
She wrote: “Over the past years, my family and I experienced maximum pressure from the intelligence services. In January 2020, when we held a sit-in to protest the slaughter of protesters in November 2019, they took me to the IRGC HQ in Evin. Their agents acknowledged then that they had tried every possible means to subdue me, but they reaped nothing but made me more unbridled. They talked about their futile remaining options, which they have deployed thousands of times against other dissident groups and opponents. Their methods include character assassination, moral assassination, issuing flogging sentences and carrying them out, sending prisoners to exile to remote locations, and finally, physical elimination.”
Speaking of her forced exiles, she said that many “progressive activist women” were transferred to different prisons in six months to prevent them from coming together, but she advised that this has backfired because it spread the message to more prisons and more cities.
She wrote: “In any prison, I am free because they will never be able to fetter my thoughts! And I repeat that I enjoy watching their fear and desperation vs. active women and men in political, civil, and ideological scenes because this shows the increasing weakness of those who claim to have power!”