Iran told to release activists arrested for praying

Iran told to release activists arrested for praying

By agency reporter
26 Oct 2009

The Iranian authorities must immediately release dozens of people arrested last week during a prayer service in support of activists detained following protests after June’s presidential election, Amnesty International has said.

The prayer service was organized by the family of Shahaboddin Tabatabaei, a prominent supporter of presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who was jailed for five years earlier this week for state security offences relating to the post-election unrest.

According to media reports, up to 68 people were arrested on Thursday and, in most cases, taken to Evin Prison in Tehran. Some have since been released, but most remain in detention. Some are relatives of activists who were jailed over the protests after unfair trials.

“People peacefully gathering to protest unjust prison sentences should not themselves end up in jail,” said Philip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“They should be released immediately and unconditionally, alongside Shahaboddin Tabatabaei and other political figures detained since the presidential election solely for their peaceful political activities.”

Among those believed to be still detained are Saeed Nour-Mohammadi, a young member of the Islamic Participation Front, a reformist political party, who was previously detained for a few days, and Amin Shirzad, son of another member of the party, Ahmad Shirzad.

Relatives of former government officials are among those said to have been detained. These include Nasrin Akbari and Mohadeseh Mohaymani, the wife and daughter of Mohammad Hashem Mohaymani, an Interior Ministry official and governor of Golestan Province under former President Mohammad Khatami.

They also include Sakineh Karimzadeh, the wife of Abdollah Ramazanzadeh, a former government spokesman who was himself arrested after the election and has been tried for allegedly fomenting post-vote unrest and Zohra Mojarradi, the wife of detained activist Mohsen Mirdamadi. All four have now been released.

Another of those arrested and since released, reportedly today, is Mohammad Reza Jalaiepour, who had previously spent 88 days in Evin Prison following the post-election protests and had been freed on bail.

Mehrak Mirabzadeh, the wife of Shahaboddin Tabatabaei, Masoumeh Khosh-Sowlatan, the wife of former Tehran mayor Morteza Alviri, and Faezeh Abtahi, the daughter of Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, are also reported to have been released shortly after being detained. Iman and Maryam Mirabzadeh, Mehrak’s brother and sister, are believed to be still in detention.

There has been no immediate comment from the Iranian authorities, but a reformist website said that the authorities believed those detained were planning further anti-government protests on 4 November 2009.

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