Justice for Iran, December 26th- Labour activist Sepideh Gholian has filed a lawsuit against the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) for televising disinformation and defamatory content against her.
Gholian told Justice for Iran that her lawyer has filed a lawsuit against the head of the IRIB and two other key figures in the institution in response to the recent broadcasting of forced confessions extracted from her and others during their arrest.
Last October, IRIB broadcast a series of forcefully extracted confessions in a TV program titled “The Burnt Plan”, which included the interrogation documents of a number of detainees arrested during labour protests across the Ahwaz region.
In this program it was claimed that the arrested activists are linked to the “separatist, seditious and Marxist tendencies” and are part of “the United State’s plans” of “overthrowing” the Islamic Republic.
Days after her temporary release from prison Gholian had expressed that “on the last day, my interrogator told me: If you speak up after your release we will broadcast all the forced confessions that we have extracted from you and Esmail Bakhshi on the 20:30 News, we will crush you.”
Sepideh Gholian has announced that the footage that was broadcast by IRIB is the forced confession that was extracted from her at the detention center of Ministry of Intelligence in Dezful, and that she has filed a lawsuit against the IRIB for this.
Gholian has specifically filed lawsuits against Abdul Ali-Asgari, head of the IRIB, news editor of the 20:30 News program as well as IRIB reporter Ameneh Sadat Zabih Pour, for their key roles in the broadcasting of her forced confessions. Gholian has also explained that Ameneh Sadat Zabih Pour was in fact present at the detention center in Dezful while forced confessions were being extracted.
Additionally, Gholian has requested the names and details of the members of the judiciary who have issued permission for the broadcasting of these forced confessions which were extracted “under torture and threats”.
On January 19, 2019 the 20:30 news program broadcast “The Burnt Plan” and placed accusations against a number of labour activists. Sepideh Gholian has called the accusations an act of defamation and disinformation. Based on Gholian’s statements, the IRIB has also used private images from her Instagram account for the making of this program, which is considered a form of cybercrime by law.
During the program her image is place next to Maryam Rajavi, leader of Mujahedin-E-Khalgh, which Gholian considers defamatory and false propagation against her.
The labour activist has publicly expressed that the confessions extracted from her during her arrest were extracted under torture, threats and intimidation and were also broadcast without her permission.
Sepideh Gholian and Esmail Bakhshi are two labour activists who were arrested in January 2019 for participating in labour protests that took place in the Ahwaz region in November 2018. After their release from prison both activists spoke publicly about their torture by interrogators during their arrest.
According to article 353 of Iran’s criminal code, broadcast and publication of interrogation documents is only allowed if the name and other personal details of the complainant as well as the accused are not revealed. Violating the provisions of this article is considered defamation by law.