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20 September 2022

Iran should release detained human rights defenders and cease brutal crackdown of the protests immediately

At least eight women’s rights and civil rights defenders have been arbitrarily arrested in Kurdistan province following the protests against the death in Custody of Mahsa (Jina) Amini on 16 September 2022. The protests started after so-called “morality police” in Tehran arbitrarily arrested a 22-year-old young woman Mahsa (Jina) Amini three days before her death in custody while enforcing the country’s discriminatory forced veiling laws. In response to this, different women’s rights groups have called for the a the Iranian police and authorities to be held accountable and there have been protests in the cities around the country including in Tehran, Saqqez, Sanandaj and Divan Dareh, Mahabad, Rasht, Isfahan and Dehgolan where at least five of protesters are reported to be killed and many injured.

Reports have confirmed the arrest of four women human rights defenders called Baran Sae’di, Mahrou Hedayati, Bahareh Zangiband, Azadeh Jama’ati in addition to an environmental rights defender Farank Rafie, and a civil rights defender called Lotfollah Ahmadi in Sanandaj; and two civil rights defenders Ribvar Kamranipour and Amjad Sae’di in Marivan Kurdistan province. According to Kurdistan Human rights Network, on 20 September 2022, the house of Baran Ahmadi has been raided in Sanandaj and the woman rights defender has been arrested without an arrest warrant. On the same day, Azadeh Jama’ati was arrested in Sanandaj Intelligence Office (SIO) after her house was raided in her absence the day before and summons was left for the human rights defender to present herself to SIO. On 19 September 2022, the houses of Mahrou Hedayati and Bahareh Zangiband were raided in Sanandaj and both women human rights defenders were arrested. On 18 September 2022, Farank Rafie was arrested by the agents of the intelligence services while attending the protest in Sanandaj. Lotfollah Ahmadi was arrested on 18 September in Sanandaj, if he was arrested during the protests or at his house is yet to be verified. Ribvar Kamranipour and Amjad Sae’di were arrested in the city of Marivan, Kurdistan province on 19 September 2022.

Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned about the arrests, temporary detentions and physical assaults of human rights defenders during the peaceful protests and calls on Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders who have been detained. Front Line Defenders additionally calls on the Iranian authorities to ensure that the treatment of human rights defenders while in detention adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', including an immediate to access the lawyer.

Front Line Defenders reminds the Iranian authorities to adhere to the principles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), especially Article 21, where Iran is obliged to recognize the right to peaceful assembly, and to stop the violent crackdown of the protests.