Mahdieh Golroo is an Iranian journalist and women’s rights activist. Golroo was a Development Economics student at Allameh Tabatabaee University in 2007 when she was barred from finishing her studies due to her activism in several university organizations. Her writing focuses on the experiences of women in prison and oppression, as well as issues of democracy and development.
Golroo was a student leader, active in the creation of student associations and women's groups in the university, as well as for writing in student magazines, at a time when both association and student publications were banned by Iranian government authorities. To protect the rights of students who had been barred from studying because of their political or religious beliefs, she formed a group called the Council for the Defense of the Right to Education, which won the 2010 Academic Freedom Award.
Her activism led her to be harassed and persecuted. She was first arrested for participating in rallies in defense of women's rights, and in sit-ins at a university and trying to defend the right to education. The result was a one-year suspended sentence. In 2009, she was arrested for attending a peaceful demonstration challenging election results and sentenced by a Tehran Revolutionary Court to two years and four months in prison on charges of “propaganda against the state,” and “assembly and collusion with the intent to disrupt national security.” After her release, she was refused permission to restart her university studies. In 2016, Golroo was arrested again and held in solitary confinement, after attending a rally to protest the acid attacks on three women. She was released 93 days later after a global outcry from numerous human rights groups.
In 2020, Golroo was welcomed as writer in residence by the Swedish city of Sandviken. During her residency, she hopes to complete her university education and finish a book she secretly started during her time in prison. She works as a freelancer with many international media outlets like the BBC, Radio Liberty, and Radio Zamaneh covering politics and human rights in Iran.
You can learn more about her work on Facebook and Twitter at @mahdieh_ golroo.