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Iran Arrests Activists Before Anniversary of Amini’s Death

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The number of detainees in Iran’s Gilan province has risen to 13 after the apprehension reported Friday of 12 people on charges related to “activities against national security,” Azizollah Maleki, the commander of Gilan’s Law Enforcement Force, said.

According to the state supported ILNA news agency, Maleki did not disclose the identities of the recently detained individuals in Gilan. He did reveal that “considerable quantities of tools and materials for anti-system propaganda, as well as communication devices for opposing networks, were located and confiscated from the suspects’ hideouts.”

He said in a statement that “officers of the Public Security Police acted upon reports of unlawful conduct attributed to specific individuals in Rasht, Anzali, Fouman, and Lahijan cities, coinciding with the anniversary of last year’s incidents.” He was referring to the widespread protests following the death of Mahsa Amini while in custody for allegedly disobeying the dress code.

Anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death

Ahead of the upcoming September 16 first anniversary of Amini’s death, several reports are emerging concerning the detainment of various civil and labor activists, along with family members of those who had been arrested or killed during last year’s widespread protests across Iran.

Gilan’s police chief has characterized the charges against the detainees as “conspiracy and cooperation in committing acts against the national security, along with involvement in propagandistic endeavors against the system in favor of opposition factions.”

He did not disclose where the 12 individuals were being held but did confirm the police investigations of the suspects are underway.

On Thursday, the Intelligence Department of Gilan province said that the 12 were known to engage in diverse anti-security activities amid the 2022 protests and were engaged in identifying and gathering information about other individuals who were previously involved in those events.

Investigators allege that the ringleaders intended to assemble — by deceiving certain young individuals and enlisting their support — groups to create circumstances conducive to unrest and insecurity in Gilan province and other cities within the Kurdistan province.

For decades, the security apparatus and judicial bodies of the Islamic Republic of Iran have levied analogous charges against political, labor, and civil activists. The accused activists and global human rights organizations have persistently refuted these allegations.

The Iranian Human Rights Campaign has highlighted the arbitrary detentions of women’s rights activists in Gilan. The organization underscores the imperative to meticulously document each of these cases, a crucial step toward the comprehensive work of the U.N. Truth Commission. This effort aims to shed light on many human rights violations perpetrated by the Islamic Republic.

Bidar Zani, a collaborative media platform of women’s rights activists, had earlier reported the arrest of 12 women activists and one political activist by security forces this past week.

According to Bidar Zani, the arrested individuals include: Jelveh Javaheri, Forough Saminia, Matin Yazdani, Yasamin Hashdari, Negin Rezai, Zahra Dadras, Zohreh Dadras, Vahedeh Khosh-Sirat, Shiva Shah-Siah, Sara Jahani, Azadeh Chavoshian, and Hooman Taheri. They were apprehended in the cities of Rasht, Lahijan, Fuman, and Bandar Anzali.

The families of the detainees in Gilan province visited the Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s office of Rasht on Thursday seeking information about their condition. According to Bidar Zani, the prosecutor’s office withheld details about who arrested the activists and where they were being held. The families were told to return to the prosecutor’s office Saturday for more information.

Bidar Zani reports the detained activists are being denied the right to make phone calls, which raises concerns regarding their well-being and safety.

15 detainees

Meanwhile, the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights is reporting the arrest of “four young residents from the city of Mahabad.” The activists are identified as Shirkou Nasiri, Hiva Shabang, Ashkan Rasouli, and Hedayat Khaste, along with two individuals from Oshnavieh named Shirvan Khezri and Ayoub Mirzai, by security forces. As a result, the tally of detainees in these two cities alone has risen to more than 15 individuals in recent days.

The Iranian Retirement Council, a pensioner’s organization, acknowledged on its Telegram channel the “sweeping surge on the threshold of the commemoration of Iran’s most significant societal upheaval; the movement for ‘woman, life, and freedom.'”

The council highlighted that through overt defiance against all forms of oppression, women have united across all facets of existence, challenging the authorities and confronting every form of intimidation, repression, and coercion with extraordinary bravery. It further said their unwavering determination remains unyielding despite all obstacles, showcasing their unparalleled courage.

The council emphasized that “those who have been apprehended are the children of the revolution, and we have stood and will continue to stand beside them.” In a resolute statement, the council declared, “we perceive these arrests as an extension of the effort to quash various movements for livelihood and freedom, and we vehemently denounce this action.”

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