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Rights Defender Calls On Iran to 'Immediately Release' Activists

Responding to reports that at least six young human rights defenders, have been detained in coordinated arrests across Iran on 1 February, Amnesty International has called for their immediate release.

“These human rights defenders must be released immediately and unconditionally – they have committed no crime and have been arrested purely because of their human rights work. We are extremely concerned that these individuals are now at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.”, said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

The six activists are Shima Babaei and her husband Dariush Zand, Saeed Eghbali, Leila Farjami, Mahmoud Masoumi and Behnam Mousivand

Earlier, Huma Rights Activists News Agency, HRANA had reported, the Islamic Republic’s intelligence agents detained at least five civil rights activists Thursday, February 1, in Tehran, Behbahan and Kermanshah.

Later, after hours of detention and interrogation, another human rights activist, Laila Faraji was set free on the same day, reported HRANA.

Based on the latest reports, the Intelligence Ministry agents stormed into the houses of Shima Babaei and Leila Faraji and confiscated their belongings.

The reason behind the recent detentions is not clear yet.

Reportedly, civil rights activist, Behnam Moussivand was “violently” detained last Thursday at his father’s residence.

According to Ms. Mughrabi, “The coordinated nature of these arrests confirms our grave concerns about the grim reality for those defending human rights in Iran today, where peaceful activism is repressed and criminalized by the authorities. These people are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully defending human rights.”

Furthermore, Ms. Mughrabi noted, “These arrests are only the latest episode in a long crackdown on any form of human rights work in Iran, intended to wipe out the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly in the country. We urge the Iranian authorities to stop this attack on human rights defenders and allow them to work in a safe environment without fear of reprisals.”