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Evin inmate's daughter: 'Stay loud for political prisoners'

Julia van Leuven
January 11, 2021

German-Iranian architect Nahid Taghavi is held without charge in Evin prison in Tehran. Her daughter Mariam Claren, who lives in Germany, said that Europeans should "stay loud for all political prisoners."

DW Sendung - Gast Mariam Claren
Image: Hossein Kermani/DW

Nahid Taghavi was detained on October 16, 2020 in her apartment in Tehran, and put in solitary confinement in the notorious Evin prison. Her relatives only found out about her disappearance when they got worried and went to her apartment to find it had been turned “upside down,” according to her daughter: “It was messy. Her German passport and her laptop, her books, private pictures, etc. were all taken away.”

For the last 15 years, Taghavi had been going back and forth between Germany and Iran to visit her family and had not been in any trouble before. “We don't know what the charges are or why they arrested her,” her daughter said, adding that her mother is a very intellectual person, “always holding a book in her hands. The pain of the Iranian citizens is her pain.”

Im Iran inhaftierte Deutsch-Iranerin Nahid Taghavi
Nahid Taghavi, Mariam Claren's German-Iranian mother, is in prison in Tehran, Iran.Image: Privat

The fact that they are not given any further information on her mother’s case made Claren realize her mother “is a political prisoner.” When her uncles in Iran make trips to Evin prison to learn more about their sister, they aren’t given any information, allegedly because of the ongoing investigation. Taghavi is not allowed to see a lawyer either.

According to Claren, in Iran, “the prisoner is always guilty until proven innocent and evidence comes from interrogating and torturing. This is the way the judicial system of Iran works.” She also said that there is no independent judiciary system as “nothing is independent in a country like Iran.” One example of unfair treatment by authorities is Nasrin Sotoudeh’s case, Claren told DW: “She's a human rights lawyer. And she has been sentenced to more than thirty years in prison.”

Iran Teheran Evin-Gefaengnis
Tehran's Evin prisonImage: picture-alliance/dpa

According to Claren German authorities tried everything they can in her mother’s case, however “diplomatic ways are not working. So political pressure is the way they have to go. They have to intervene.” Only days after her mother’s imprisonment, Claren started a social media campaign to raise awareness for the case, using the hashtag #FreeNahid. “The only weapon that I have is raising my voice, saying what's happening and talking about her.” She appealed to citizens in Europe to “stay loud for all political prisoners because my mom has a voice. We are free. We should raise our voices.”