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Iran: Art gallery owning couple held in detention since July without charge

5 December 2016

aun-gallery-iran
In late July 2016, Islamic Revolutionary Guards detained art gallery owners Afarin Niasari and her Iranian-American husband Karan Vafadari at the Tehran airport, where they were arrested and taken to Iran’s infamous Evin Prison, reported International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran on 2 December 2016.

The couple have been held without charge or access to lawyers, but have been visited by family, who chose to remain silent until recently, hoping the issue would be resolved. However, when the family began receiving anonymous threats and demands for money, they decided to go public with case.

A day after the arrest, agents took the couple to their home where they took down and confiscated pieces of art, including smashing one work of art, and later took them to their gallery, Aun Gallery, where agents once again confiscated and destroyed several pieces of art.

Authorities have yet to specifically mention what charges are being pressed on the couple, but Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi said in August 2016 that “two Iranian dual nationals” were being held on charges of engaging in “organised corruption and depravity”.

The unnamed couple were allegedly charged for organising mixed-gender parties for foreign diplomats and associates that included the serving of alcohol. The prosecutor stated that “4,000 litres of alcohol” were found in the couple’s home.

According to the gallery’s site, Aun Gallery, which was established in September 2009, is “Tehran’s first privately-owned art space deisgned and built to showcase contemporary art”.


Photo: Aun Gallery/Facebook


Sources

» EA WorldView – 3 December 2016
Iran Daily: Revealed – Another Iranian-American in detention

» Reuters – 2 December 2016
U.S.-Iranian, wife in Iran jail, no charges since July: rights group

» Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty – 2 December 2016
Iranian-American, wife detained in Iran since July

» International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran – 2 December 2016
Sister breaks the silence over Iranian-American and wife held for three months without charge or counsel


More from Freemuse

» 12 November 2016: United Nations member states urge Iran to improve human rights

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