In a joint statement on Thursday, October 3 several international human rights organizations have expressed their "serious concern" over recent detentions of the relatives of civil and political activists in Iran.
The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), and Human Rights Watch (HRW) are among the thirteen organizations that have signed the joint statement.
The signatories have stressed that arresting the relatives of civil rights activists, as well as jailing of journalists and political dissidents is a pattern of "threat" and "intimidation" regularly used by the Islamic Republic authorities to silence protests against the performance of the clergy-dominated establishment.
Meanwhile, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has also issued a statement condemning Tehran for arresting the relatives of an anti-compulsory hijab activist, Masih Alinejad and other independent Iranian journalists living abroad.
A self-exiled journalist and the founder anti-compulsory hijab movements, Alinejad, announced on September 24, that the agents of the fearsome Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' Intelligence Organization had stormed houses of his relatives and detained his brother, as well as close friends of her ex-husband.
Later, on September 29, the New York-based Alinejad released a video recorded by his brother, minutes after the plainclothesmen stormed his house and arrested him.
In the videotape, Masih Alinejad's brother, Alireza, disclosed that the whole family was under pressure to testify against Masih and her activities, on Iran’s monopolized state-run television network.
"After talking to the intelligence agents, our mother started crying and saying desperately that the family might relent to pressures and testify against Masih to prevent further arrests," Alireza Alinejad said in the videotape.
Masih Alinejad, 43, is an Iranian-American journalist, author, and civil rights activist. She currently works as a presenter/producer at VOA Persian Service, and a contributor to other foreign-based Persian networks.
Furthermore, she is the founder of the anti-compulsory-hijab "My Stealthy Freedom," and "White Wednesdays" online campaigns.
The campaign publishes the footage of women on social media who take off their compulsory hijab and headscarves in busy public places in Iran.
The head of Tehran Revolutionary Courts, Mousa Ghazanfarabadi, had maintained, "Regarding Masih Alinejad's cooperation deal with the Americans, whoever sends videos and images of taking off hijab to her, will be punished under Article 508 of the Islamic penal code, and sentenced to one to ten years jail."
Retaliating to the threats and arrests, the human rights organizations issuing the statement have insisted that Iranian authorities should immediately stop harassing and threatening the families of activists and journalists to silence dissent and criticism, three rights organizations said today.
Furthermore, the joint statement has called upon the international community to urge Tehran to stop arbitrary detention and harassment the civil rights activists and their relatives.
In its statement, RSF also says that in at least 25 cases, the journalist and their families in and outside Iran had recently been threatened and harassed by the judiciary and intelligence agents.
According to the RSF, the Islamic Republic ranked 170th out of 180 in the World Press Freedom Index, in 2019.
"Iran has been one of the world’s most repressive countries for journalists for the past forty years. State control of news and information is unrelenting, and at least 860 journalists and citizen-journalists have been imprisoned or executed since 1979," RSF reported, adding, "The Islamic regime exercises extensive control over the media landscape and its harassment of independent journalists, citizen-journalists and independent media has not let up. They are constantly subjected to intimidation, arbitrary arrest, and long jail sentences imposed by revolutionary courts at the end of unfair trials."