Iranian Atheist Prisoner's Mother Sent to Jail for Defending Son's Rights

Farangis Mazlum, Soheil Arabi’s mother, was brought to the Judgement Enforcement Unit of the Evin Prison in Iran on August 2, 2022. The 55-year-old Mazlum will serve an 18-month custodial sentence for speaking out against her son’s arrest.

In October last year, Mazlum’s lawyer argued that she was not in a stable health condition to be incarcerated. A deputy prosecutor eventually allowed her to avoid detention, following a physician’s note about her health condition.

Soheil Arabi, Mazlum’s son, an Iranian atheist activist, and blogger, was released from prison on November 16, 2021, after eight years. Arabi was arrested in November 2013 for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad on his Facebook post.

Despite being released from prison, Iran imposed another two years of “internal exile,” barring Arabi from leaving the country.

Mazlum was first arrested on July 22, 2019, by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry agents after speaking out against her son’s imprisonment. She was detained in solitary confinement for more than two months.

She was also charged with “assembly and collusion with the intention of committing crime through contacting the People’s Mojahedin Organization” and “disseminating propaganda against the state and in favor of dissident groups.”

Mazlum went on hunger strike to protest her confinement condition. She was eventually released on October 8, 2020, after paying a bail of 250 million Tomans, or more than $5,000.

According to Mazlum, Iranian authorities kept pressing her about her son. “I am being tortured every day and night,” she said.

In October 2020, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran found her guilty of the charges, and she was sentenced to one year and six months for the charges.

Arabi lashed out at Iran’s decision to detain her mother. “Justice has become so feeble that my own mother has been thrown in jail,” Arabi said on his Telegram.

Talking to IranWire, Arabi praised how her mother became a civil rights champion after his ordeal. “She was no longer content to be a defender of just her own son,” Arabi said. “After I was imprisoned, she came to know civil and political activists,” he added.

“She went from being a mother to a fighter,” Arabi added.

On April 13, 2020, Atheist Republic interviewed this courageous woman. See here with English subtitles:

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