Iran arrests 12 activists in crackdown ahead of protest anniversary

Iran arrests 12 activists in crackdown ahead of protest anniversary
Iran arrests 12 activists in crackdown ahead of protest anniversary

Iran on Wednesday detained no less than 12 feminine activists in what rights teams say is an escalating marketing campaign to discourage protests to mark the anniversary of the “girl, life, freedom” rebellion that swept the nation final 12 months.

The protest motion in opposition to clerical rule was sparked by the dying of Mahsa Amini, 22, within the custody of the nation’s “morality police” after an alleged violation of Iran’s conservative gown code for girls.

The 12 girls arrested within the Caspian Sea province of Gilan have histories of “anti-security actions,” in line with state media studies on an announcement by the Intelligence Ministry, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The ministry accused two of the ladies, with out presenting proof, of receiving cash and coaching from Western safety companies, together with Israel’s.

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The ladies’s whereabouts and the precise expenses they face stay unknown, and their households have had no contact with them, in line with Shiva Nazarahari, an activist based mostly in Europe who works with the Volunteer Committee to Observe-Up on the State of affairs of Detainees, a casual community that operates inside and outdoors Iran.

Nazarahari and different rights activists referred to as the accusations baseless — however stated they had been a part of an effort at suppression and intimidation seemingly meant to discourage protesters from marking the primary anniversary of Amini’s dying subsequent month.

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“The regime is certainly scared of the anniversary developing,” stated Hadi Ghaemi, government director of the New York-based Middle for Human Rights in Iran. “It believes there’s a massive urge for food within the nation for protests and resistance once more. In any other case, it might not be rounding folks up.”

Amini’s dying final September ignited months of nationwide demonstrations in opposition to the nation’s system of clerical rule and gender discrimination arrange after the 1979 revolution. Ladies and younger folks had been main leaders within the motion, which turned outlined by a well-liked chant: “Girl, life, freedom.” Pictures of ladies defiantly burning their obligatory hijab, or scarf, impressed waves of solidarity demonstrations overseas.

The protests posed the largest a disaster of legitimacy for the Islamic republic — and Tehran in response launched a brutal crackdown and web outages. No less than 500 folks, and possibly scores extra, had been killed, in line with HRANA, a Virginia-based activist information company. No less than seven males have been executed for protest-related convictions. Hundreds of others had been injured or arrested.

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Whereas each day demonstrations have died down, Iran’s clerical leaders have struggled to reassert management and implement the hijab, amid ongoing frustration with the nation’s collapsing financial system, international isolation, and water shortages throughout a summer season warmth wave.

In current weeks, Tehran has elevated morality police patrols and deployed cameras and different types of surveillance to catch girls violating hijab guidelines, in line with information studies. Shopkeepers, lecturers and employers have been fined for violations and threatened by authorities if they don’t implement the necessities.

Iran’s parliament is anticipated to move a contentious, extra restrictive hijab regulation codifying many such intensified practices. The draft invoice imposes strict penalties on anybody who violates hijab necessities or encourages others to take action, with punishments starting from fines and jail to employment and journey bans.

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The proposed laws has sparked controversy in Iran, the place some see the obligatory hijab, a pillar of clerical energy, as having misplaced long-term viability in a society basically modified by the protests.

Wednesday’s arrests got here amid daily reports of the detention and sentencing of activists. Authorities have specifically continued to focus on members of the Kurdish minority within the nation’s northwest, the place Amini was from and the protests started. Abuse and torture are rife in Iranian prisons, in line with Human Rights Watch, a number one rights group based mostly in New York, and Iran’s judicial system is notoriously stacked against political detainees, in violation of worldwide legal guidelines.

On Wednesday, Iran additionally sentenced outstanding movie director Saeed Roustayi to 6 months in jail for exhibiting his movie “Leila’s Brothers,” a drama set in opposition to the backdrop of Iran’s monetary disaster, on the Cannes movie competition final 12 months with out official permission. Final month, judges sentenced three outstanding activists for not sporting the hijab and declared them “mentally ill,” a part of a sample of “weaponizing” the medical treatment of detainees, in line with Ghaemi. College students at universities — which had been a beating heart of the uprising — have reported a rise in threatening calls, summonses and interrogations by intelligence officers forward of the anniversary, according to campus activists.

The trials of the 2 Iranian journalists who first broke Amini’s story — Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi — are additionally ongoing, behind closed doorways. They’re accused of “colluding with hostile powers” — a cost they deny, in line with their households, and which might carry lengthy sentences or the death penalty.

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