A reunion of Iranian environmentalists, some released from prison after more than six years, in Tehran, April 9, 2024


Another women’s rights activist has been condemned to a lengthy prison term by Iran’s authorities.

ORIGINAL ENTRY, APRIL 10: Four environmentalists, seized by Iran’s authorities in January 2018, have been freed from prison after more than six years.

Niloufar Bayani, Sepideh Kashani, Taher Qadirian and Houman Jokar were among nine activists of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation and sent to Tehran’s Evin Prison.

Professor Kavous Seyed-Emami, an Iranian-Canadian national and the Foundation’s Managing Director, died in suspicious circumstances in the prison two weeks later.

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The other eight environmentalists were convicted of espionage, with no presentation of evidence in public.

Some were finally freed last year, and US-UK-Iranian national Morad Tahbaz was among five dual nationals released last September in return for the unfreezing of billions of dollars of Iran’s foreign assets.

The remaining four activists were pardoned this week among amnesties for Eid al-Fitr, the celebration of the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Kaveh Madani, Iran’s former deputy head for environmental affairs and now now the director of the UN University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, posted: “Our long nightmare has ended. The remaining imprisoned Iranian Environmentalists will be finally released. This is a great day for Iran’s environment.”

The environmentalists were targeted amid crackdowns by hardliners on activism, including over climate change. They were used both as bargaining chips for Iran’s negotiations with foreign powers and as pawns in the ruling system’s internal battles.

Soon after the Foundation activists were seized, Madani was briefly detained and interrogated. He left Iran afterward.

The treatment of the environmentalists, including Madani, was perceived by analysts as an attempt by hardliners to humiliate and undermine Iran’s centrist President Hassan Rouhani.