More than 800 Iranian activists in Iran and abroad have issued a statement demanding the quick release of labor leader Esmail Bakhshi and civil activist Sepideh Qolian.
They have said that the arrest of the two activists is the latest example of Islamic Republic’s policy of “suppression” against workers who demand their rights.
Bakhshi and Qolian who spent more than three weeks in detention during November-December 2018 complained of torture by intelligence agents. Iranian state TV later broadcast a film showing their “confessions”. The two responded that the film in itself proves they were tortured.
Intelligence agents immediately arrested the two activists for a second time.
The statement adds that the signatories hold the intelligence ministry and President Hassan Rouhani personally responsible for the safety of Bakhshian and Qolian.
Iran’s intelligence ministry constitutionally is accountable to the president but often its actions seem to be in contradiction with Rouhani's official policies.
The Islamic Republic also has other intelligence organizations, the most powerful of which is the IRGC intelligence organization.