Writer and translator Mehdi Salimi has been released from Evin Prison on a bail of 500 million tomans after spending 40 days in detention and under interrogation.
Jalal Salimi, Mehdi Salimi’s brother, announced his brother's release by posting a photograph on Instagram and saying he had settled the bail amount on Monday, August 18, 2020. He will remain out on bail until the court proceedings against him are finalized.
Mehdi Salimi initially faced accusations of “propaganda against the regime,” “inciting people to corruption and prostitution” and “gathering and collusion against the state.” Salimi was later also accused of committing blasphemy.
The courts initially issued Mehdi Salimi a bail of 1.2 billion tomans, but this was reduced to 500 million tomans.
Mehdi Salimi posted a statement on his brother’s Instagram page on August 9, 2020, which said: “I have no collateral worth enough to secure that amount of bail except for the deed to our family house, which I do not exclusively own or [will not exclusively] inherit. According to details of the bail notice, if it is not overturned or edited in any practical way, such an amount is exorbitant and almost impossible to pay. So I will wait patiently along with many of my comrades or, as [Ahmad] Shamlou says, 'those same children of the depths who are kept prisoners there without a lawyer, the possibility of bail or visitation and who are forced to occupy themselves in patient waiting and cast their eyes to the judgments of the unjust courts.'”
Mehdi Salimi was arrested on July 7, 2020 by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in the city of Ahar. He was then flown to Tehran and transferred to Section 209 of Evin Prison.
Salimi translated Castration or Decapitation? by Hélène Cixous and The Lacanian Real by Slavoj Žižek. He is the author of two books, The Sorrow of Siavoshan, published in 2019, and Theoretical Violence, a collection of articles on art and critical aesthetics, which was published by Iran Free Publishing in Sweden in 2016.
Salimi was born in 1984 in Tabriz. He has a Bachelor's degree in artisanal handicrafts from Yazd University and he is currently living in Tehran. He has previously worked as the editor-in-chief of the online magazine Charcoal and prior to that as the editor-in-chief of another online publication, Mind Motor.