Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, 47, from Britain, has been detained in an Iranian prison for about six months after criticizing Iran’s government on Facebook. The woman fears she might be executed.
According to her husband Daryoush Taghipoor, Mrs. Nobakht traveled to Iran in October last year to visit family, but was arrested by police as soon as she arrived in the southwestern city of Shiraz.
She was taken to the country’s capital Tehran and charged with “gathering and participation with intent to commit crime against national security” and “insulting Islamic sanctities” – crimes punishable by death. She is believed to have been detained ahead of a trial at Evin prison in Tehran, which is notorious for its harsh conditions.
Mr. Taghipoor claims his wife was arrested over comments she had made on a Facebook group about the government being “too Islamic”, and that she had only been charged after a confession was extracted from her “under duress”. He adds that his wife is scared that the Iranian government will kill her.
Roya Nobakht and husband Daryoush Taghipoor
Human rights groups have expressed concern about the reasons for Mrs Nobakht’s arrest. Amnesty International said the woman must be immediately released if she is being held for exercising her right to freedom of expression. The AI representatives noted that the Iranian authorities often use “vaguely-worded and broadly-defined crimes such as ‘gathering and colluding against national security’ and ‘insulting the Islamic sanctities’“ to curb those who peacefully express their opinions, including criticising the government.
The couple have both been granted dual British-Iranian nationality.
Britain currently has no embassy in Iran, making any negotiations more difficult. However, relations between the two countries appear to have thawed recently. In January, the first in five years UK delegation of politicians traveled to Iran as guests of the Iranian Parliament.