Christian woman prisoner strip-searched at Evin Prison

Christian woman prisoner strip-searched at Evin Prison

A Christian woman prisoner who has been on temporary leave was subjected to a strip-search when she returned to Evin Prison.

Maryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran had been out of prison for four days – for the first time in 17 months of imprisonment. When she returned on 8 November, she was forced to take off all of her clothes.

Nasim is said to have been extremely shaken as a result of the unexpected and unconventional treatment. 

In October 2013 Nasim was taken to Tehran’s Modarres Hospital due to a heart condition that has worsened during her time in prison.

Nasim, who is 36 years old, was first arrested in December 2012 for “acting against national security”. 

She was summoned to the Ministry of the Interior, and held for three days. She was then taken to Evin Prison after preliminary interrogations, and her case was referred to the Islamic Revolutionary Court.

On 9 March 2013, Nasim was sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted in Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, under the chairmanship of Judge Mohammad Moghiseh, of “propaganda against the Islamic regime and collusion intended to harm national security”. 

The ruling did not change in the appeal court, and Maryam was taken to Evin Prison to begin her sentence on 24 July 2013.

It should be noted that until now prison authorities have not provided any explanation as to why Nasim was subjected to such an untypical, and humiliating, examination.

Over the past two years, there have been no known instances of similar examinations taking place at Evin Prison. However, in November, 2012, about 20 women from the Evin Prison Guard unit stormed the women’s prison quarters and strip-searched the women while insulting them. Some of the prisoners, who were mostly detained for political or ideological crimes, went on hunger strike in response.