Vasmaghi and her husband travelled back to Iran from Sweden on Saturday 14th October. She was detained for a few hours upon arrival at Teheran's International Airport. Vasmaghi was released, but asked to reappear for interrogation. Vasmaghi had herself made the decision to return to Iran.
On Sunday 22. October, she was tried before the 28. branch of the revolutionary court. The trial lasted 12 minutes, and she was not allowed to speak. A court ruling from before she left Iran was brought up again, as well as the fact that she is opposed to stoning. Vasmaghi was transferred to the Evin prison the same day, with an unusually high amount set for bail.
Sedigheh Vasmaghi came to Uppsala, Sweden, as ICORN resident in 2012. After the residency, she and her husband stayed on in Uppsala, where Sedigheh was a research fellow at Uppsala University. ICORN Programme Director, Elisabeth Dyvik says:
- We are appalled that Sedigheh Vasmaghi has been imprisoned in Iran. She is a distinct voice on diverse topics within the Iranian community, including women’s rights, sharia laws and the political situation in Iran. The ICORN residency is meant to give a space to individuals whom oppressive regimes or other actors are trying to silence. As long as she was in Sweden, Sedigheh could, and did, speak freely, and was free to conduct her research. We sincerely hope she will be released very soon, and are particularly worried for her situation in Evin prison, particularly because of her medical condition as clinically blind.
Vasmaghi is a well-known poet, writer, and lawyer, focused on women’s rights in Islam. She earned her PhD in law at the Tehran University and is one of few women who taught the subject of Islamic law in Iran. As university lecturer, she worked tirelessly to highlight and improve women’s status and rights in the Iranian society. She has written many articles on political, legal, Islamic and social issues, which have been published in newspapers, and magazines in Iran, including Cheshm Andaz Iran (Perspective in Iran).
Vasmaghi published her first poetry collection Praying for Rain in 1989, for which she received the 1991 Best Book Award by the University of Al-Zahra, Teheran. Since then, she has published five collections of poetry in addition to several academic books, and translated classical Arabic poetry to Farsi.
While living in Iran, Vasmaghi was under escalating pressure from the Government for her writings and her political views. A number of police complaints and charges were brought against her for her articles, and she was tried, sentenced and threatened with imprisonment. An order for her arrest was issued by the Security Ministry a month before she left Iran in 2011 to teach as a guest lecturer at a university in Germany. In her absence, her private office continued to be searched by the authorities, her belongings confiscated and her colleagues threatened.
Interviews with Sedigheh Vasmaghi
February 2016 in Pressenza – International Press Agency Iran’s Sedigheh Vasmaghi says Islam is never opposed to equal rights for women
April 2017 in Iran Human Rights Female Former Council Member Advocates For Women Candidates in Iran’s Local Elections