Tuesday 06 December 2016

IHR warns against increased crackdown on Iranian civil society before presidential elections in Iran

Iran Human Rights: On Saturday November 26, Iranian authorities arrested civil rights defenders Atena Daemi and Alieh Matlabzadeh.

"The Arrest of Atena Daemi and Alieh Matlabzadeh for peaceful civil rights activism is part of the Iranian authorities' widespread crackdown on Iranian civil society in the months leading to the 2017 presidential elections," says Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, spokesperson for Iran Human Rights.


According to Atena Daemi's family, Iranian authorities violently arrested her on Saturday November 26 during a raid on their home and transferred her to the women's ward of Evin Prison. In September 2016, an Iranian appeals court sentenced Ms. Daemi to seven years in prison for her peaceful activism.

The 29-year-old activist was first arrested by Iranian authorities on October 21, 2014 and was subjected to interrogations for 86 days in 2A, an IRGC-operated solitary confinement ward in Evin Prison. On January 18, 2015, Iranian authorities transferred her from Ward 2A to the women's ward of the prison. In spring 2015, Ms. Daemi was sentenced to 14 years in prison for her peaceful activism. Her charges included: "Propaganda against the system", "Assembly and collusion against national security", "Blasphemy and insulting the Supreme Leader" and "Concealing evidence". On February 15, 2016, she was temporary released from prison on bail.


Alieh Matlabzadeh reportedly received a phone call by Iranian authorities on Saturday November 26 summoning her to Tehran's Ministry of Intelligence to pick up her personal belongings which were confiscated from her a month earlier. Ms. Matlabzadeh's daughter told the news site Zeitoon that when her mother arrived to retrieve her belongings, she was detained by Iranian authorities and interrogated for five hours before she was transferred to Evin Prison. According to Ms. Matlabzadeh's daughter, the reason for her mother's arrest and the charges against her are not clear.

"On October 18, a day after Alieh had returned from a trip related to an educational project about women's empowerment, our home was raided by Ministry of Intelligence agents...We had not received a warning about the raid or a summons order from beforehand. There were five agents, they didn't present any identification or arrest warrant...Alieh was home alone at the time...They searched the house from 10pm to 2am and confiscated all of Alieh's work and identification documents...including her bank card," Sadra Abdollahi, Ms. Maltabzadeh's husband, told the news site Radio Zamaneh. During the raid on her home on October 18, the Iranian authorities had reportedly told Ms. Matlabzadeh that a court hearing would be held for her a month later.

"The international community, including human rights groups, must condemn in the strongest terms the systematic oppression of Iranian civil society," says Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.

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